Bill Belichick, Patriots coaching tree isn’t as good as once thought

The Bill Belichick and Patriots coaching tree may not be as strong as previously thought.

Over the course of his NFL coaching career, Bill Belichick has arguably been the best head coach of all-time at the helm of the New England Patriots. With six Super Bowl titles as a head coach, two more as a coordinator, along with three Coach of the Year honors and an NFL-best mark of 31 postseason wins, Belichick has just about done it all while leading the Patriots since he took over as head coach in 2000.

Although his resume is impressive, which stems back to being in the Bill Parcells coaching tree, Belichick’s track record of helping mold and boost the talents of his assistant coaches when they depart the organization for a head coaching spot elsewhere isn’t as impressive.

Specifically in 2020, Belichick’s coaching tree has taken arguably its biggest hit to date, with former assistant coaches and coordinators Matt Patricia, Bill O’Brien and Dan Quinn have all been fired through just 12 weeks of the regular season.

After the fourth week of the season, the Houston Texans fired head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien in his duel roles. After Week 5, Quinn was fired as head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Most recently following the Detroit Lions’ Week 12 contest on Thanksgiving, Matt Patricia — along with Detroit general manager and former Patriots front office guy Bob Quinn — was fired as head coach of the Lions.

Those three firings in particular are just another example that the Patriots tree of former coaches isn’t as great as we all once thought it might be.

Maybe the Patriots and Belichick don’t produce coaches who can replicate New England’s success.

Belichick served as a head coach with the Cleveland Browns from 1991 to 1995 before taking over head coaching duties in New England in 2000. During those two stints, a total of 10 coaches have gone on to take over head coaching spots elsewhere.

That list of former assistants and coordinators under Belichick includes Al Groh (New York Jets, 2000), Nick Saban (Miami Dolphins, 2005-06), Romeo Crennel (Cleveland, 2005-08; Kansas City Chiefs, 2011-12; Houston, present), Eric Mangini (New York Jets, 2006-08; Cleveland, 2009-10), Jim Schwartz (Detroit, 2009-13), Josh McDaniels (Denver Broncos, 2009-10), O’Brien (Houston, 2014-20), Patricia (Detroit, 2018-20), Brian Flores (Miami, present) and Joe Judge (New York Giants, present).

Through the end of November, that list holds a combined record of 208-296-1, which equates to a 41.3 percent win percentage. Not great.

Of course, that list includes three coaches who are currently head coaches in the NFL, including Flores in Miami, Judge in New York with the Giants and Crennel as the interim head coach in Houston. Flores and Judge have smaller sample sizes with their teams, as Flores took over in 2019 and Judge took over with the Giants prior to the start of the 2020 campaign.

Along with those individuals currently in head spots for organizations, McDaniels, who is back in his second stint as offensive coordinator with the Patriots under Belichick, could be on the move this offseason as he is yet again a candidate for various head coaching spots around the league.

There is no doubting that Belichick is one of the best coaches to ever coach in the NFL, and his success has led to multiple assistants and coordinators on his staff’s finding their own head coaching positions elsewhere.

Unfortunately, those coaches haven’t really panned out with their teams and proves that Belichick’s coaching tree might not be as impressive as was once perceived.