The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported that former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’s failure to secure an NFL coaching position for the 2024 season goes beyond his upcoming 72nd birthday. Despite undergoing interviews with the Atlanta Falcons, concerns arose regarding how Belichick would integrate into the team’s structure.

The Falcons, apprehensive about Belichick’s accustomed total control over football operations in New England and his strained relationship with Atlanta president Rich McKay, were hesitant to bring him on board. This sentiment extended beyond the Falcons, as sources from multiple teams that recently hired new head coaches expressed relief that Belichick was not joining their organizations. Some feared he might significantly alter the leadership structure and chain of command.

Teams across the league also worried about how the defensively-focused Belichick managed the Patriots’ offense in his final seasons without Tom Brady.

Concerns included his fractured relationship with quarterback Mac Jones, who reportedly stopped speaking to Belichick after being benched in Week 12 of the 2023 season. Additionally, Belichick’s decision to appoint Matt Patricia, a defensive coach, as the offensive coordinator before the 2022 season raised eyebrows.

The Patriots’ disappointing 4-13 record in 2023, the first time the team had accrued fewer than five wins in Belichick’s 24-year tenure, further heightened concerns. Sources believed that Patriots owner Robert Kraft might have considered retaining Belichick if he committed to certain changes in strategies, including those related to the personnel department, roster construction, and offensive vision. However, Belichick reportedly was unwilling to make such extensive concessions.

Despite these challenges, it is not ruled out that a team might consider giving Belichick full control of their organization in the future, especially given the average of seven head coach openings in the league each year. CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones suggests that Belichick could still express interest in returning to the NFL if a suitable opportunity arises in 2025.

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