National Football League
New England Patriots, Bill Belichick agree to part ways
National Football League

New England Patriots, Bill Belichick agree to part ways

Updated Jan. 11, 2024 1:45 p.m. ET

The most decorated coaching tenure in modern NFL history is over after 24 years.

The Patriots and Bill Belichick have mutually agreed to part ways, the team confirmed Thursday. Belichick and owner Robert Kraft announced that they came to the decision to amicably split on Wednesday. 

"I'll always be a Patriot," Belichick told reporters on Thursday. "I'll look forward to coming back here. But at this time, we're going to move on and I look forward, excited for the future.


"I've always been very appreciative of the opportunity and the support here — and Rob, what you've done for me."

As Belichick finished his statement, Kraft took the podium and shook hands with his now-former head coach. 

"Coach Belichick will forever be celebrated as a legendary sports icon here in New England and I believe will go in on the first ballot," Belichick said. "Why? Because he's the greatest coach of all times, which makes this decision to part ways so hard. But this is a move that we mutually agreed is needed at this time. What Bill accomplished with us, in my opinion, will never be replicated.

"I thank Coach Bill for his hard work and dedication," Kraft added. "It will be difficult to see him in a cutoff hoodie on the sideline, but I will continue to wish him continued success, except when he's playing our beloved Patriots." 

The two ended their joint press conference after giving statements, sharing an embrace as Kraft joked, "He's got a cold, so I'm not going to kiss him."

Belichick's time in New England comes to an end after he led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles, nine AFC championships and 17 AFC East titles. However, Belichick's Patriots teams hit a wall in the four years following Tom Brady's departure, making the playoffs just once (2021) and finishing with losing seasons in the other three years.

The Patriots hit the lowest point of Belichick's tenure this season, posting their worst record at 4-13 in his two dozen years with the organization. Their 38-3 loss to the Cowboys in Week 4 was the worst loss of Belichick's head coaching career, which includes his five seasons with the Browns. They were shut out by the Saints 34-0 a week later, giving Belichick the worst home loss of his head coaching career.

New England never rebounded from those losses, which put the Patriots at 1-4 through the first five weeks of the season. They were able to upset the Bills in Week 7, but they lost five games in a row following that win. One of those games included a 10-6 loss to the Colts in Germany in Week 10, a game that Patriots owner Robert Kraft significantly valued. 

As hot-seat rumors surrounding Belichick grew louder following the Week 10 loss, the head coach opted to stick with struggling third-year quarterback Mac Jones following the bye week despite pulling him for a third time this season during the Colts game. Jones, who finished second in Offensive Player of the Year voting in 2021, significantly regressed over the past two seasons as Belichick took an unorthodox approach to replace offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in 2022, making longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia the offensive playcaller. 

Patricia was replaced after one season by Bill O'Brien, but he wasn't able to fix the offense's woes. New England's offense ranked among the worst in the league for a second consecutive season and Jones' time as the starting quarterback ended for good in Week 12 after he threw two first-half interceptions against the Giants

Obviously, what's next for Belichick remains to be seen. He turns 72 in April and is only 14 wins behind Don Shula for the NFL's record for most victories by a coach (regular season and postseason combined). 

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