Don Shula's reign at the top of the NFL coaching hierarchy will take a break this year as Bill Belichick likely sits out the 2024 season but that could be a bad thing for his record.
New reports have surfaced that Bill Belichick is likely going to miss out on this year's cycle of coaching changes. It appeared that he would be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons. Belichick interviewed twice with owner Arthur Blank.
In these new reports, a growing concern regarding power was being discussed and ultimately couldn't be overcome. Belichick, of course, wants to do things his way and likely has total control. 6 Super Bowls give you that right I suppose. At least to ask.
With Atlanta now hiring Raheem Morris, the only jobs left for Belichick are Seattle and Washington. Neither club has shown interest in hiring the coach. One reason this has become an issue is because Belichick's coaching career is in its twilight and as such, teams looking to remake or rebuild their franchises don't want to do it with a coach who is simply hanging around to chase a record.
The belief is once Belichick owns the record, he will likely retire. So, Belichick sits out in 2024 and Don Shula's record is safe. Right? Not so fast.
While Belichick isn't going to gain ground on Shula this year, his options in 2025 might be much better. Would he be a fit for the Dallas Cowboys or the Jacksonville Jaguars if they move on? Both of those teams are in a far better position to win now because they have a better roster than a team like Atlanta, Washington, or Seattle.
Belichick's quest for 328, or really 329, could begin again with a team looking to make a Super Bowl run rather than a structural rebuild.
Belichick has 302 wins in his career and it would likely take him three seasons at most to get that number provided he was coaching with a winner. Had he taken over a team like the Falcons, it may have stretched out another year, maybe even two, and is hard to see Belichick coaching another 4 years without a break. He will get one in 2024. Or so it seems.
If we include postseason wins as well, the Miami Dolphins HOF coach sits with 347, 14 games ahead of Belichick. That is a number that Belichick could pass in as little as a season and a half.
There is also the chance that Belichick takes the year off and simply gives up the quest for 328 and retires.
If Belichick doesn't find another job, it is realistic to believe no one will ever break the record. Belichick's run with New England was impressive and unprecedented. It won't be seen again in the NFL any time soon.
If not Bill Belichick then who?
Andy Reid is next on the list of current coaches. He has 258 regular season wins in his career. There is a lot of talk of him retiring in the next couple of years and some believe this year could see him walk off the field for good. After Reid? You have to go to Mike Tomlin of the Steelers. Tomlin has 173 wins and then comes Mike McCarthy with 167 and Pete Carroll who doesn't appear to be ready to coach again, has 170.
Could another coach push for this record? John Harbaugh has 160 wins and is still young enough to coach another ten years if he wants to. If he did and won 11 games each year, he wouldn't reach 300 wins.