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The New England Patriots announced on Thursday they are moving on from legendary coach Bill Belichick, with whom they won six Super Bowls and nearly 300 games.
Despite Belichick’s unimpeachably outstanding run in New England, questionable personnel decisions, misfires in the draft, and a failure to rebuild after Tom Brady’s departure prompted the Patriots’ front office to move in a new direction.
Whichever coach takes over Belichick’s spot on the sideline will have big shoes to fill. Below is the list of favorites to become the Patriots’ new head coach.
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Record: 4-13 (fourth-AFC East)
Offense: 13.9 PPG (t-31st)
Defense: 21.5 PPG (15th)
Playoffs: Did not qualify
|New England Patriots
|Linebackers coach (2019-)
|Head coach (2018-23)
|New England Patriots
|Offensive coordinator & quarterbacks coach (2023-)
|Las Vegas Raiders
|Head coach (2022-23)
|Offensive coordinator (2022-)
|University of Michigan
|Head coach (2015-)
Mayo played eight seasons in the NFL, all with the Patriots. He won a Super Bowl with them as a player and spent the last five years coaching linebackers under Belichick. He’s been rumored to be the top candidate, though the hiring process only just began.
Vrabel won three Super Bowls with the Patriots as a player and established a reputation as a great coach that players love to work with in Tennessee. He’s a tough-minded coach with defensive principles reminiscent of Belichick but with a more player-first attitude. His crowning achievement thus far was reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2020.
O’Brien was brought in to run the offense (a role he also had in New England in 2011) after Matt Patricia flamed out the year before. He ultimately did not get the best out of the offense but was severely hamstrung by the lack of talent he had at his disposal and could start the new era off with a bang by drafting a quarterback at three.
The Patriots went 4-13 in 2023, their worst finish since 1992. A struggling quarterback room headed by Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe plagued them despite the defense impressing even after losing Defensive Player of the Year candidate Matthew Judon and Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Christian Gonzalez.
Belichick was never known as a people-pleaser and supposedly had a strained relationship with other members of the Patriots’ organization. Winning covers a lot of issues, but the team’s decline brought light to many of those areas.
Vrabel, O’Brien, McDaniels, and Mayo all represent continuations of the Belichick tree. That could be enticing if the team doesn’t want to totally abandon its identity, but the option to completely reboot the franchise with the third-overall pick in the NFL Draft also has its benefits.
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