Hannable: Now more than ever it seems Bill Belichick will outlast Tom Brady with Patriots

Cover Image
Photo credit Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports

In the days following the Patriots’ loss to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, it seemed like Bill Belichick's time was running out.

The long-time coach had just benched Malcolm Butler in the biggest game of the season and received the most backlash of any move he’s made as head coach of the Patriots. It was also coming after a season which saw a lot of behind the scenes drama centered around he and Tom Brady’s trainer Alex Guerrero. Also, don’t forget about the Jimmy Garoppolo trade, which left Belichick’s quarterback of the future on the other side of the country.

And even bigger than all those, Josh McDaniels ended up by staying in New England after agreeing to become the Colts’ next head coach.

Approaching 65 years old, it seemed the writing was on the wall for Belichick to retire in the next few years, as why would want to continue with the way things were going, especially considering how successful he’s been with his own methods for his entire career. And it appeared his successor in McDaniels was in place.

But now, roughly five months since the end of the season, and following a Brady sit-down interview with Oprah Winfrey, things have officially turned.

Belichick is going to outlast Brady. There’s no question about it.

For the first time maybe ever, the soon-to-be 41-year-old admitted retirement is at least somewhat on his mind.

"I think about it more now than I used to. I think I'm seeing that there's definitely an end coming, sooner rather than later," Brady said in an interview that aired Sunday morning.

Added Brady: "As long as I'm still loving it. As long as I'm loving the training and preparation and willing to make the commitment. But it's also [that] I think what I've alluded to a lot in the ["Tom vs. Time"] docuseries was there's other things happening in my life too. I do have [three] kids that I love, and I don't want to be a dad that's not there driving my kids to their games. I think my kids have brought a great perspective in my life, because kids just want the attention. You better be there and be available to them, or else they're going to look back on their life and go, 'Dad didn't really care that much.'"

No longer is Brady talking like a player on a mission to play until his mid-40s. At this point, it seems like he’s year-to-year. After all, his contract is set to expire at the end of 2019 and for all the speculation that he would sign an extension this offseason, it hasn’t happened.

Let’s just say the Patriots win the Super Bowl next season, would it surprise anyone if Brady called it quits? Absolutely not. 

There’s definitely been a distinct change in the quarterback recently. While football is still everything to him, his family may have become more important and it’s only natural. His kids are getting older -- it’s just different being a dad now than what it was like even a couple of years ago.

This brings us to Belichick.

Some believed he and Brady would go out together, but with both having egos as big as they do, it’s hard to imagine this ever taking place as when one retired, the other would certainly want to prove they can win on their own.

When Brady does ever decide to retire, it’s very likely things with the team would go back to what they were a few years ago when there wasn’t any drama surrounding a personal trainer, or anything like that. It would be all football, all the time. Also, while it appears at least to some extent owner Robert Kraft is more on Brady’s side than Belichick's, with Brady gone Kraft would have no choice but to be all-in on Belichick because without Brady and Belichick who knows what the team would be.

Brady hasn’t taken the team away from Belichick by any means, but without Brady around, the team wouldn’t have any finger prints on it besides Belichick.

Unlike Brady, Belichick has shown no signs of even once thinking of stepping away. The 65-year-old seems to enjoy coaching just as much as he did when he joined the Patriots in 2000 as a 48-year-old.

If Brady were to call it a career after the next couple years, it could almost be seen in a small way as even driving Belichick even more to stick around and have continued success. While he would never publicly admit it, he would most certainly love to win without Brady as his quarterback.

With the way things are trending, Belichick just may get his chance to do that as Brady's time appears to be running out.