Patriots Talk Podcast

Curran: How ‘final' is Patriots' decision to part with Belichick?

"Based on the conversation I had, it felt as if the decision was fairly well-sealed."

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How certain are we that Bill Belichick has just four games remaining as New England Patriots head coach?

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran reported Monday on NBC Sports Boston's Arbella Early Edition in fairly definitive terms that Patriots ownership is ready to move on from Belichick after the season.

"When they came out of (their Week 10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts in) Germany, conversations I had that week made it very clear that a decision was made ... and at the end of the year there would be a parting of the ways," Curran said.

But is that decision set in stone? What if the Patriots build on the momentum of last Thursday's upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers and win their final four games? Is there anything Belichick can do over the final month of the season to convince team owner Robert Kraft to keep him around, or is his offseason departure inevitable?

Curran followed up on his reporting Thursday during a new Patriots Talk Podcast with fellow Patriots Insider Phil Perry.

🔊 Patriots Talk: Is the decision to move on from Bill Belichick next season final? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"Based on the conversation I had, it felt as if the decision was fairly well-sealed," Curran said of his initial report. "However, if the Patriots finish with a flourish, could things change? It's 28-3 right now. We know that's not an insurmountable deficit, but it's very late in the game."

Belichick's Patriots had a miniscule chance of overcoming a 28-3 deficit against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, and it sounds like Curran is giving Belichick a similarly miniscule -- although non-zero -- chance of changing Kraft's mind.

There's plenty working against a Belichick "comeback," however: His Patriots are 3-10 with the worst offense in the NFL and have hit several rock bottoms this season, thanks in large part to a flawed roster that he helped construct.

"It's the nature of the losses and the product on the field and the promises of improvement that the Kraft family made to their season-ticket holders that led to that decision at that time," Curran said. "Could a flourish change things? Could Bill Belichick turn on the charisma and the charm and unearth a plan for going forward that at the end of the season, the decision changes?

"Until it's done, it's not done, and everyone reserves the right to change their mind. There was no juncture at which I said, 'Is that your final answer?' Because you're just not in a position to do that as a reporter. ... So, from my vantage point, I would say it's not a final, final decision rendered after the Indianapolis game. But a decision as to which direction they were going in had been made."

As Curran noted, Kraft obviously could choose to alter course and keep Belichick, who is under contract through 2024. Belichick has plenty of cachet as one of the greatest head coaches of all time, and his departure won't be "final" until the team makes an official announcement.

Barring any surprising developments over the final four weeks, however, Life After Belichick could begin as soon as this winter in New England.

Also in this episode:

  • The case for Jerod Mayo to be the heir apparent.
  • Is Malik Cunningham’s departure indicative of Bill Belichick’s future?
  • Chiefs-Patriots preview
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