Bill Belichick Had Assembled Staff, Was Prepared To Cede Personnel Control

Famously, only one HC-needy team — the Falcons — conducted a formal interview with Bill Belichick this offseason. While Belichick is believed to have also had reservations about the Atlanta power structure, he was interested in the job and had hoped to land a third head coaching position this offseason.

The 24-year Patriots leader was prepared enough for another opportunity he had a coaching staff in place, according to’s Albert Breer. While Belichick was under consideration for the Atlanta job, a rumor about the six-time Super Bowl-winning HC having spoken to some of his former staffers about Falcons roles surfaced. It appears Belichick may have been even further along on this road.

Coaches organize staffs during the interview process, with the Rooney Rule only applying to coordinator positions. And it is certainly interesting Belichick had done so. Though, given the Super Bowl mainstay’s legendary attention to detail, it is not exactly surprising he had a group ready to go in the event he landed a job in the wake of his Patriots separation/dismissal.

Longtime Belichick lieutenants Josh McDaniels, Joe Judge and Matt Patricia were viewed by some around the league as likely to follow the NFL’s second-winningest coach were he to have ended up with a job during this year’s cycle. That trio, given the Patriots’ post-Tom Brady stumbles, may not have been especially appealing to an owner. And Belichick ended up speaking with only the Falcons and Commanders about positions. Washington’s new ownership group did not formally interview Belichick. After two Falcons meetings — the first with Arthur Blank, the second with a larger group — Belichick ended up losing out to Raheem Morris.

Issues involving a potential clash between Belichick and Falcons brass, including president Rich McKay and GM Terry Fontenot, were rumored to have been part of the reason the team went in another direction. But Blank said earlier this offseason Belichick did not ask for personnel power during the interview process. While the veteran’s football knowledge and experience would have presented a complication for McKay and Fontenot in a setup in which a coach-only role was in the offing, the Patriots’ drafts and decisions of the past few years — the Patricia-as-OC 2022 move standing out — did not reflect well on Belichick.

But Breer adds Belichick was fine ceding personnel control at his next stop. With the 11-time Super Bowl HC/DC planning to revisit a coaching push in 2025, that will be relevant. It will be fascinating to see how teams navigate a pursuit of Belichick in a coaching-only role, given his 24-year run overseeing all football matters in New England. And Belichick’s age (72 on Tuesday) will naturally be an issue (as it was for the Falcons), as no team has hired a head coach older than 66 in NFL history. But this will continue to be a key NFL storyline, one that will make certain coaching situations — particularly a few in the NFC East — of particular interest.

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