Quick Slants

Curran: It's hard to say goodbye to Bill Belichick

"It is what it is, it was what it was. It will never be quite the same."

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Thursday marked the end of an era in New England as Bill Belichick and the Patriots parted ways after 24 years together. Those two-plus decades were highlighted by 17 AFC East titles, nine AFC championships, and six Super Bowl victories.

Even if Jerod Mayo is the perfect replacement, it'll take a while to adjust to life without Belichick patrolling the Gillette Stadium sideline. Belichick earned a reputation as the greatest coach in NFL history while leading the Patriots dynasty alongside quarterback Tom Brady. His presence, including his sideline quirks and trademark press conferences, will be greatly missed at One Patriot Place.

On Tuesday's Quick Slants, our Tom E. Curran eloquently explained why it's so difficult for fans and media alike to bid farewell to Belichick.

"There's been a lot of separation anxiety since last Thursday, which is understandable. The Patriots are part of people's personal identities," Curran said. "We remember Super Bowls better than we do christenings and graduations, and we marked time in our lives recalling where we were when they beat the Rams or the Panthers or the Seahawks or the Falcons.

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"We all see ourselves at different stages of our lives experiencing those things and the people around us when we watched those games. I can feel right now today the same way I felt in 1976 when Ken Stabler stumbled into the end zone and the Raiders stole a win from the first Patriots team I ever loved. I was nine years old. I remember the stomping by the Bears. I was 19 and I was in college. And I remember the loss to the Packers. I was 29 working for the Waltham News Tribune. I had one kid and I was living in Brockton trying to save money for a house.

"I've thought about Bill Belichick every single day of my life since January of 2000. And I've said it many times before, I benefited personally as did my family from Belichick and what he spearheaded here in New England. It's not easy to watch the team detach from someone who's been a fixture in your life for a quarter century. If over the last five years, the drafts were better, the free agent signings worked out, the succession plans were more defined, then Bill Belichick would still have left this team on his terms. But they went 4-13 in a year where the owner dropped an ultimatum for success. It is what it is, it was what it was. It will never be quite the same."

As the Patriots move on to Mayo, Belichick has already begun his search for his next team. He completed an interview with the Atlanta Falcons on Monday and is expected to be considered for several head-coaching vacancies. According to ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Belichick wants to coach a "talented, yet underachieving team."

For teams currently without a head coach, the Falcons and Los Angeles Chargers most fit that description. The Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles will become intriguing options for Belichick if they part ways with Mike McCarthy and Nick Sirianni, respectively.

Belichick is 15 wins away from breaking Don Shula's all-time wins record. If he joins any of those aforementioned teams, he'll be in a position to accomplish that feat as quickly as possible.

You can watch the full "Quick Slants" episode below:

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