A timeline of key moments in Bill Belichick’s career:
1976 – He joined the Detroit Lions as an assistant special teams coach. He was fired along with the rest of Tommy Hudspeth’s coaching staff at the end of the 1977 season.
1979 – After one year with the Denver Broncos, Belichick begins a 12-year run with the New York Giants, first as an assistant under Ray Perkins. Led by a defense guided by Belichick under head coach Bill Parcells, the Giants win two Super Bowls.
1991 – Belichick is hired as the head coach of the (original) Cleveland Browns. As the face of an NFL team for the first time, Belichick shows the irritable personality that would characterize his time in New England. The Browns went 11-5 and reached the second round of the playoffs in 1994, but during the 1995 season owner Art Modell announced an intended move to Baltimore. The Browns, 4-5 at the time, finished 5-11 and Belichick was fired.
1996 season – Belichick reunited with his mentor, Parcells, who was now the head coach in New England. The Patriots reached the Super Bowl that season; Belichick was reported to have softened personally, including cultivating a relationship with team owner Robert Kraft.
1997 season – Parcells and Kraft’s frosty relationship completely disintegrated during Super Bowl week, and the coach flew home separate from the team after the loss to Green Bay and worked out a deal to take over the New York Jets. Kraft refused to relinquish his rights, leaving Belichick as the titular head coach briefly. Parcells eventually negotiated his release, restoring Belichick as his top assistant and contractually stipulated heir.
January 2000 – With Parcells’ resignation as Jets head coach, Belichick was supposed to be elevated to the job. Instead, Belichick scribbled “I resign as HC of the NYJ” on a napkin and attended his introductory press conference only to explain his decision. Soon after, Kraft anointed him as Patriots head coach, replacing the fired Pete Carroll and setting off another NFL-mediated negotiation over compensation.
April 2000 — Patriots select former Michigan quarterback Tom Brady 199th overall in the sixth round of the NFL draft. Belichick stashes him on the roster as the team’s fourth quarterback with Brady appearing in only one game his rookie season. The Patriots finish 5-11 in Belichick’s first season as New England’s coach.
2001 season — Belichick elevates Brady to Drew Bledsoe’s backup and in Week 2 of the season inserts him into the game against the Jets after Bledsoe sustains a concussion and collapsed lung following a hit late in the fourth quarter of a 10-3 loss. Brady is the starter the rest of the season. New England makes a run to the Super Bowl and upsets the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf” to win the Patriots’ first Super Bowl.
2003 season — The Patriots win the Super Bowl for the second time in three seasons, claiming a 32-29 victory over Carolina in Super Bowl 38 at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
2004 season — The Patriots became a full-fledged dynasty and cement their place as the team of the 2000s with their third Super Bowl victory in four years, beating the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21. New England becomes only the seventh franchise to claim back-to-back titles. No team has achieved the feat since.
2006 season — The Patriots set an NFL mark with 10 straight postseason victories by beating the Jacksonville Jaguars 28-3. New England’s milestone surpasses the nine straight playoff victories by Green Bay in the 1960s.
2007 season — The season starts under a cloud when a New England videographer is accused of recording defensive signals by the Jets during the Patriots’ season-opening win. An NFL investigation validates accusations in a scandal that comes to be known as “Spygate.” The Patriots are fined $250,000 and docked a first-round draft pick for violating NFL rules against using video to steal signals. Belichick is fined $500,000 in the incident. The saga helps fuel a widespread distrust of the team.
The Patriots respond by averaging an NFL-best 36.8 points per game and beating their first eight opponents by a combined 204 points. Brady wins the league MVP after leading the NFL with 4,806 yards passing and sets the single-season record with 50 TD throws. New England completes a perfect regular season, finishing with a 16-0 record following a thrilling 38-35 comeback victory over the New York Giants. New England is the first NFL team since the 1972 Dolphins to win every game on the schedule. But its hopes of an unbeaten season end in 17-14 Super Bowl loss to the Giants.
2011 season — The Patriots finish the regular season 13-3 and earn a trip to their fifth Super Bowl under Belichick. But they are again thwarted by the Giants in a 21-17 loss.
2013 — Aaron Hernandez, who the Patriots drafted in the fourth round in 2010 and was signed to a $40 million contract extension in 2012, is arrested on a murder charge in friend Odin Lloyd’s slaying. The Patriots release him hours after his arrest. Hernandez is convicted of the murder in 2015.
2014 season — The Patriots finish their third straight regular season with 12 wins and earn their sixth trip to the Super Bowl in Belichick’s tenure. The game ends in dramatic fashion when undrafted rookie Malcolm Butler intercepts Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson’s short throw into the end zone and the Patriots end a decade-long drought without an NFL title by beating the defending champion Seahawks 28-24.
2016 season — The Patriots earn a fifth Super Bowl win in historic fashion, rallying from a 28-3 deficit in the third quarter to beat the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in Super Bowl 51. It marks the largest comeback in the game’s history and the first overtime Super Bowl. The Patriots join the Pittsburgh Steelers (six), Dallas Cowboys (five) and San Francisco 49ers (five) as the only teams with at least five Super Bowl wins.
2017 season — Patriots make their eighth Super Bowl appearance under Belichick but lose to the Philadelphia Eagles on the “Philly Special” trick play.
2018 season — New England rebounds from the Super Bowl loss to the Eagles and makes its ninth Super Bowl appearance since the start of the Belichick-Brady era, beating the Rams 13-3 to capture the franchise’s sixth Lombardi Trophy. Belichick joins George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches with six NFL championships.
March 2019 — Brady leaves the Patriots in free agency and joins the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2020 season — Belichick acquires former MVP Cam Newton to replace Brady, but the Patriots stumble to a 7-9 finish. Brady leads the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win, earning his seventh ring.
2021 season — The Patriots draft former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, who unseats Newton as the starter during training camp. Jones gets a Pro Bowl nod as a rookie and helps lead New England to a 10-7 regular season, earning its first playoff appearance since Brady’s departure. But the Patriots are bounced 47-17 in the wild-card round by Buffalo.
2022 season — Belichick puts longtime defensive coach Matt Patricia in charge of the offense and Jones regresses in Year 2. The Patriots stumble to an 8-9 finish, their second losing season since Brady’s exit.
2023 season — Belichick rehires former offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien, but Jones and the offense continue to struggle and post worse numbers than the previous season in several categories. Jones is benched with six games to play and the Patriots finish 4-13, the worst record of Belichick’s NFL coaching career.
Jan. 11, 2024 — Belichick and Kraft agree to part ways after 24 seasons and six Super Bowl championships.
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