For the last two decades, Bill Belichick has consistently kept the New England Patriots relevant and near the top of the NFL, winning six Super Bowls in the process. Despite a down year in 2020, many believe the long-time head coach will be able to bring the organization back to the playoffs as soon as next fall.
However, Belichick is now 69-years-old, meaning that his coaching days may soon be nearing their end. He’s already spent over 45 seasons coaching in the NFL and may see an opportunity to retire in the near future.
But, who can follow one of the greatest coaches of all-time? Boston Globe NFL reporter Ben Volin suggested an interesting name over the weekend: Matt Patricia.
Patricia returned to the Patriots this offseason “in a variety of roles” back in January. He already played a major part in the organization’s scouting department for the 2021 NFL Draft and seems to be re-establishing his rapport with Belichick by the second.
Volin also shared on WEEI’s The Ken and Curtis Show this weekend that Patricia has become the team’s lead contract negotiator. Earlier this spring the Boston Globe journalist reported that the former Patriots defensive coordinator personally signed Cam Newton to his one-year free agent deal.
In Volin’s mind, these moves might point to New England setting up Patricia to take over for Belichick when the legendary head coach decides to retire.
“It does seem like they are broadening his skill set, and it makes me wonder if they are setting him up to be the heir apparent to Belichick,” Volin said.
— Ken Laird (@KenLairdWEEI) May 8, 2021
Patricia, 46, doesn’t lack the experience in the NFL, having spent over a decade in total with the Patriots. However, his brief track record as a head coach doesn’t instill confidence that he can take over in New England.
From 2018 to 2020, Patricia went 13-29-1 as the head coach of the Detroit Lions. He was fired in the middle of the season last fall and returned to the Patriots earlier this offseason.
Although things didn’t pan out in Detroit, it’s possible that Patricia might be able to use his familiarity with New England to earn the gig once Belichick retires. However, long-time Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will also certainly factor into the interview process.
But, before anything happens, Belichick has to call it quits. That won’t be happening in 2021, as the 6-time Super Bowl champ looks to bounce back from a disappointing 2020.