Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

25 Jan 2007

The Bill Belichick rumor silliness

So, over at NFL.com, Adam Schefter is writing about the great head coach free agency of 2008, and after talking about Bill Cowher and Jeff Fisher (whose contract ends this year) and Bill Parcells, we get to this:

And maybe, most interesting, multiple sources around the league believe that Belichick's contract, which does have three years remaining on it, is filled with mutual options that could allow him or the team to nullify the deal as early as next year.

Schefter is not the first person to write about these supposed "Bill Belichick will leave the Patriots rumors." But do you remember what I said a couple weeks ago about the ridiculous Donovan McNabb-to-Vikings nonsense? I mean, I trust Adam Schefter a lot more than I trust random dude at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, but again, unless I have missed something, there is absolutely no proof of this being true.

There is no proof that Belichick's contract has out clauses. Apparently, multiple sources believe. That's it. Bill Belichick has not told anyone he has out clauses. Robert Kraft has not told anyone he has out clauses. Nobody has actually seen the physical contract with out clauses. If one of those three things was true, Schefter wouldn't use the word believe. He would say "multiple sources around the league say..."

But wait, it gets better. In all the rumors of Belichick leaving New England, nobody has brought up any possible reasons WHY he would want to leave. People talk about the Giants job being his dream job, but Bill Belichick did not grow up in New York or New Jersey. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and lives on Martha's Vineyard during a large portion of the off-season.

Power? He has total control in New England. If Belichick told Jonathan Kraft that the Patriots would be more likely to make it to Super Bowl XLII if he had an egg salad sandwich for lunch, you can bet Kraft would have an egg salad sandwich for lunch.

Money? Coaches are the one thing for which there is no salary cap (well, coaches and trainers) and you could not possibly list a salary so high that Robert Kraft would not pay it. I mean, if Belichick gets super greedy there are going to be a couple of synagogues around Boston that don't get new Torahs next year, but it isn't like Robert Kraft is hurting for money, considering how much of it he gives away.

Maybe he's just tired of this and wants a new challenge? Um, hello? In the salary cap NFL, EVERY YEAR is a new challenge. Almost half the 2006 Patriots were not on the team when they won Super Bowl XXXIX. Besides, would you trade the challenge of building a team around Tom Brady for the challenge of building a team around Eli Manning?

The only possible reason that makes any sense is the idea that Belichick would want to live closer to that woman down in New Jersey who broke up his marriage. I assume she's getting a divorce herself, though, and what, he couldn't move her up to Foxboro? Get real. Plus, that only explains the Giants rumors, not the wacko "Belichick to the Houston Texans" nonsense from Ron Borges.

Oh, and have you noticed all the hype about Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith becoming the first African-American head coaches in the Super Bowl? Yes, the NFL sure would look fondly upon the Mara family telling new general manager Jerry Reese to go take a hike so white boy Bill Belichick can run the Giants. That would certainly score one for racial progress.

I guess when I go to the Indy combine, I'll put this near the top of the to do list: Find out if anybody has any actual concrete reasons why the "Bill Belichick wants to leave New England" rumors are true.

Until then, to quote Chuck D., don't believe the hype.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 25 Jan 2007