Bill Belichick, Patriots On To 2016 After ‘Bittersweet’ End To Season


FOXBORO, Mass. — Bill Belichick takes a pretty calculated approach to his craft, but he’s still human.

The New England Patriots fell to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, marking the third time in four seasons they’ve fallen one game short of reaching the Super Bowl. So when Belichick was asked Monday to evaluate the season that was, the Patriots coach admitted it hurts getting so close but coming up short.

“We did a lot of good things, won a lot of games, and came up short in the end,” Belichick said in his season-ending press conference. “It’s bittersweet.”

As is Belichick’s mantra, though, there’s always work to be done. Less than 24 hours after his team’s 2015 season concluded, the head coach said he’s putting the sting of Sunday’s loss behind him and looking ahead to the 2016 campaign.

“It’s the same basic feeling 30 other teams have, and another team’s going to have it next week (when they lose the Super Bowl),” Belichick said. “We’ve been in those situations. We’ve been on all sides of it. We’ve been on the good side of it, we’ve been where we are today. That’s life. You move on.

“The emotion of the game is still with all of us, but the process still has to start. So, we’ll start it. Do things in a normal course that we do.”

For this Patriots team, that process will start with roster management. LeGarrette Blount is among 10 Patriots who will become unrestricted free agents this offseason, and key defenders like Jamie Collins, Dont’a Hightower and Malcolm Butler have contracts that will expire after the 2016 season. Then comes free agency in March and the NFL Draft in April.

So when will Belichick begin that whole process?

“I’m in it,” Belichick said.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images

Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick in the AFC Championship football game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

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