Bill Belichick turned 70 years old this past spring and is about to enter his 48th season as a coach in the NFL, his 29th season as a head coach and his 23rd campaign leading the Patriots.
But it doesn’t sound like the New England head coach is ready to give it up, despite what he said in the past.
Belichick famously said in his “A Football Life” documentary that he wasn’t going to be like Marv Levy coaching into his 70s. Those comments didn’t age well, as the 70-year-old is still sharp and apparently still has the zest for getting up and going to work.
In fact, Belichick said he regrets those comments about Levy and coaching into his 70s.
“I wish I hadn’t said that,” Belichick told The Boston Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy in a rare on-the-record one-on-one interview. “I was probably thinking of what I would feel like. Now, there’s what I actually feel like, and those are two different things. That was not one of my better statements.”
In hindsight, it does make sense. Belichick made those comments shortly after the Patriots were shocked by the Ravens in the wild-card round in 2010. He said it as he was driving to Gillette Stadium before sunrise to get started on yet another season. If motivation was ever waning, it would have been then.
And if there was ever a time for Belichick to feel motivated about the short- and long-term future, it would be right ahead of a season opener. Belichick and the Patriots open their 2022 slate Sunday in Miami against the Dolphins.
So, where’s the finish line? One might assume Belichick is chasing Don Shula for the most wins all time by a head coach. Shula has him by 38 regular-season victories, but if you count playoffs, Shula holds a slightly more manageable 347-321 lead. Belichick, the only six-time Super Bowl winner as a head coach, obviously has nothing else to prove, but if he knows an updated end date, he’s not sharing.
“I’ve learned my lesson on that one,” he told Shaughnessy. “One year at a time.”
Regardless of specifics, Belichick obviously is on the back nine. Following the 2016 season, a report indicated Belichick would coach for at least five more years, hoping to outlast Tom Brady. He’s beyond that five-year mark already, and it looked like he had Brady beat until the QB’s flip-flop.
But, as Belichick said in the NFL Films documentary, “I enjoy doing what I’m doing, I don’t think it’s gonna last forever, (but) it beats working.”