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NFL

Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants Bill Belichick coaching into his 80s

Having won 6 Super Bowls in during his tenure, one might ask if there is anything else, but apparently for the 3rd ‘winningest’ coach in NFL history, there definitely is.

Paul Rudder
Update:
Patriots owner would like to see Bill Belichick coaching in his 80s
Patrick SmithAFP

It would appear that age is just a number for the Patriots’ owner, as he admits that he wouldn’t be opposed to his head coach continuing into his 80s.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants Bill Belichick to continue

Having been on the Patriots’ coaching staff as offensive coordinator for all six of their Super Bowl wins, current Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels knows a thing or two about New England’s long term coach Bill Belichick. Recently, McDaniels opened up about his former mentor and stated that he wouldn’t be surprised if Bill Belichick was still giving orders from the sidelines in Foxborough Stadium a decade from now. While some may have taken McDaniels words as a joke, it’s apparent that Patriots owner Patriots owner Robert Kraft didn’t and is not just fine with the idea, but hopeful that Belichick will indeed continue into his 80s. In case you’re wondering the six-time Super Bowl championship coach will will celebrate his 70th birthday on Saturday.

Indeed, according to Mike Florio of Football Talk there was a conversation involving Kraft several years ago in which he referred to Belichick. “Robert Kraft told me that he wants to see Bill Belichick coach into his 80s. He wants to see him perform at a high level like a Warren Buffett or a Rupert Murdoch well past his 80th birthday - he believes he can.”

Josh McDaniels thinks Bill Belichick has many years left

As mentioned before McDaniels had many years under Belichick’s tutelage. The new Raiders head coach actually started his career back in 2001 with the Patriots and would go on to serve 14 seasons with Belichick and co. before moving on. Asked about his old boss and McDaniels was open about the idea that he doesn’t see him moving on from the game anytime in the near future. “He still attacks the job the same now that I saw him attack it when I first started in 2001,” McDaniels said. “Doesn’t matter what part of the year it is. The big thing that Bill has going for him and has always done is he loves all the facets of the football season, whether it’s scouting, preparation for a game, roster evaluation, team-building, developmental parts of the year for the young players. All of those things get weighted the same for him.”

Bill Belichick hasn’t always been clear about retirement

While those like McDaniels will say that it’s no surprise, the reality is that Belichick hasn’t always been firm on how long he would stay in coaching, in fact when considering comments that he made back in January 2010 one could be forgiven for thinking of the current scenario as a complete turnaround. At the time Belichick and the Patriots had just come from a Wild Card round loss to the Ravens which ended their season. Interestingly, during that season Belichik had allowed NFL Films to document him and it was during one such session when the coach said that he did not see himself coaching into his 70s.

“You definitely miss a lot during football season. Family stuff, holidays and kids stuff when they’re young, their games,” Belichick said being 57 years old at the time. “The world passes you by. I have a hard time picturing not coaching football at this point. I won’t be like Marv Levy and coaching in my 70s; you won’t have to worry about that. Fortunately, that’s a few years off. I enjoy doing what I’m doing. I don’t think that’s going to last forever. Beats working.”

What changed for Bill Belichick?

Regardless of theories and thoughts, what is clear is that Belichick has changed his mind since he spoke those words back in 2009. The Patriots for their part would see three more Super Bowl victories under Belichick’s stewardship and his Hall of Fame status would be secured. Yet as things stand, the Patriots man in charge is still able to find motivation and drive as he seeks to add to his already more than impressive legacy. Incidentally, Belichick is just 10 wins away from becoming only the third coach in league history to win 300 games. That’s right, with 28 wins he will match George Halas who sits on 318 and with a further 38, he will tie Don Shula for the all-time lead. If Belichik does in fact coach for another decade, surely neither target is a big ask for a coach who has already won so much.

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