Jan. 11, 2024 will now forever be a date remembered in New England sports history: the day the Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick parted ways. While the term is oftentimes overused, it is truly the end of an era, one that the NFL probably will never see the likes of again. For the bulk of Belichick’s 24 seasons as the leader in Foxborough, the Patriots enjoyed unprecedented success, including all six of the franchise’s Super Bowl titles.
Mixed in between Lombardi Trophies and duck boat parades came some of the greatest coaching moments and decisions that the league has ever seen under Belichick. As the Patriots depart from their franchise icon, let’s take a look back at some of his more memorable coaching moments/decisions in New England.
Brady over Bledsoe
Given that Tom Brady became the greatest player in the history of the sport, it might sound crazy that there was ever a debate to play him over someone else, but that was absolutely the case in 2001. After Drew Bledsoe was ready to return from a sheared blood vessel in his chest from that infamous hit from Mo Lewis, Belichick ultimately decided to stick with the then-second-year quarterback in Brady. That decision was as polarizing as it gets, especially considering that Bledsoe had just signed an NFL-record 10-year, $103 million contract back in March of that year.
Belichick split the reps between the two quarterbacks leading up to the Week 10 matchup against the Rams — who they’d eventually beat in Super Bowl XXXVI — and ended up losing the game. It was after that contest Belichick decided to give the full reps to Brady, start him for the remainder of the year and the rest is history, proving to be the most pivotal decision the organization has ever seen.
End of Super Bowl XLIX
The end of Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks was a coaching masterclass by Belichick. Of course, we all know that Malcolm…