National Football League
Tom Brady, Julian Edelman criticize teams for not hiring Bill Belichick
National Football League

Tom Brady, Julian Edelman criticize teams for not hiring Bill Belichick

Updated Feb. 6, 2024 12:01 p.m. ET

A few former New England Patriots stars are surprised that Bill Belichick was passed over in the coaching carousel this offseason. 

Tom Brady, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski were each mystified about why teams opted not to hire their former head coach, who won six Super Bowls during his 24 seasons in New England. Edelman seemed to be the biggest critic of the bunch, believing there might be factors other than winning at play when teams hire a head coach.

"It just tells me that not everyone's really about winning in this league," Edelman told The 33rd Team when asked about Belichick's unemployment. "It's crazy. Yeah, he's tough. Yeah, he is a force to work with. But any team that brings him in instantly gets like 35 percent better just off-rip because of the amount of knowledge he knows, the amount of experience that he has and he's seen everything through the game."

The Patriots parted ways with Belichick in January just days after their 4-13 season came to an end, though there was still speculation that he would wind up getting a job. But of the seven other teams who had head coaching vacancies, the Falcons were the only ones to interview him. Belichick met with Atlanta twice, and although he was viewed as the frontrunner for the job, the Falcons ultimately hired Raheem Morris to be their next head coach.


While Belichick is arguably the greatest and most decorated coach in NFL history, the last few seasons weren't great for him in New England. The Patriots missed the playoffs in three of the four seasons after Brady left in 2020, going 29-38 over the last four regular seasons. 

Edelman acknowledged Belichick didn't have the best stretch of his career recently, but indicated that he can still win at a high level if he's paired with the right quarterback. 

"Yes, he's had his struggles these last couple of years," Edelman said. "But this is a quarterback league. You've got to find a quarterback regardless of where you are. He wasn't able to do that. … It just tells me that not every organization is trying to win."

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Brady, meanwhile, related Belichick's situation back to when he was a free agent in 2020 as he wondered why his former head coach hadn't landed a head coaching gig.

"I'm not one to hire. I don't know the criteria for hiring these guys, for hiring coaches you know. I've never been a part of it," Brady said on his "Let's Go!" podcast. "I mean I'm surprised that the greatest coach ever doesn't have a job, you know, absolutely. You know I'm surprised about a lot of things in the NFL. When I was a free agent, there was a lot teams that didn't want me.

"There's a lot of things that happen that, for one reason or another, don't go exactly the way you think they should go."

Belichick, who turns 72 in April, reportedly still has plans to coach, even if he has to sit for a year and wait. Brady told "The Herd" in late January that he also expects Belichick to still want to coach as well, saying, "the fire burns with him." While we don't know which teams will have vacancies next offseason, Gronkowski is already making pitches to teams for them to hire Belichick. 

"If he takes a year off, gets rejuvenated, comes back next year and accepts a head coaching job, that team becomes better instantly," Gronkowski told The 33rd Team. "He's the best coach in the game that's available. If you want to win, you hire Coach Belichick as your coach."



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