The end of an era is upon us in the National Football League.

After 24 seasons as the head coach of the New England Patriots, during which he and his teams tormented football fans in New York (for the most part), Bill Belichick and the franchise have officially parted ways.

After months of speculation, Belichick is no longer employed by the Patriots, and to be completely honest with you, it doesn't even feel real.

And yet, it is. Here's what we know.

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Inside the Demise of Bill Belichick with the New England Patriots

To paraphrase a quote that I read on Twitter earlier today, Bill Belichick the General Manager cost Bill Belichick the Head Coach his job in New England.

Sure, it's more complex than that, but that certainly seems to be a major reason why the two sides are parting ways. Belichick was hired ahead of the 2000 NFL season, as both the head coach, and head of football operations, for the Patriots.

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For two decades, Belichick oversaw the most successful dynasty in the history of modern sports. He racked up six Super Bowl victories, 30 playoff victories, and 266 regular season wins as the head coach in New England, and despite endless changes to staff and personnel, Belichick was able to build strong rosters around QB Tom Brady, and consistently compete for Super Bowls.

Then, on January 4, 2020, Tom Brady threw a pick-six against the Tennessee Titans on his final pass with the team, and the New England Patriots were ousted from the playoffs in the wild-card round in an upset, 20-13.

Seattle Seahawks v New England Patriots
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From that point forward, things simply weren't the same. Brady left for Tampa Bay, won another Super Bowl, and retired in the years that followed. After a one-year pit stop with Cam Newton Belichick and Co. drafted Mac Jones as the team's next franchise quarterback, and Jones won the starting job ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Jones and Belichick combined to sneak New England into the playoffs that season, but the Buffalo Bills made quick work of the Patriots, and the franchise has not returned to the playoffs since. After two consecutive seasons missing the playoffs, and a roster in disarray after a string of less-than-stellar moves by Belichick, owner Robert Kraft has apparently seen enough.


Where Do Belichick, and the Patriots, Go From Here?

Unlike friend and colleague Nick Saban, who announced his retirement on Wednesday, Belichick has said nothing about wanting to step away from the game of football. One would have to imagine that, if a team presents Belichick with enough money and control over football operations, he'll be back in the NFL in short order.

From there, Belichick will have the opportunity to break Don Shula's record for most wins as a coach, and likely, will pursue one final Super Bowl victory away from New England (sound familiar?) before walking away for good.

Washington Commanders v New England Patriots
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On the other end of the spectrum, we find the New England Patriots, with a mess of a current roster, a high draft pick, and a sense of desperation to return to relevancy in 2024. Long-time Patriots, and current outside linebackers coach, Jerod Mayo is viewed by many as the coach who will succeed Belichick in Foxboro.

Recently-fired Titans' head coach Mike Vrabel has also been linked to the team, as Vrabel also played in New England during his career.

No matter who New England hires, when the season kicks off in 2024, and the cameras pan to the Patriots' sideline, something will immediately look off. Bill Belichick, his scowl, and his hoodie with the sleeves cut off, won't be standing there for the first time in a quarter century.

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