Bill Belichick Gets ESPN Hit Piece for His Birthday

The headline likens 72-year-old Belichick's "failed job hunt" to being "voted off the island"

Bill Belichick coaching for the New England Patriots in 2019.
Bill Belichick's last stop in the NFL may have been with the Patriots.
Scott Taetsch/Getty

For his birthday yesterday, which falls on the same date (April 16) that Tom Brady was drafted by the New England Patriots in 2000, Bill Belichick received birthday greetings from the franchise that called his January firing a “mutual decision” to part ways. Posting on social media, the Patriots wished 72-year-old “BB” a simple “HBD” and added a photo of him clad in New England gear.

Questioned by some for seeming to string along a relationship that the Patriots don’t seem to want to admit they ended, the move looked even hollower the day after Belichick’s birthday when ESPN published a piece that places some of the blame for the unemployed NFL coach’s “failed job hunt” on New England and team owner Robert Kraft.

Following his public dismissal from New England in a press conference with Kraft that featured forced smiles all around and some uncomfortable half-hugs, Belichick was linked with several other NFL teams that had coaching vacancies with the Atlanta Falcons being chief among them. According to ESPN, Belichick met with Falcons owner Arthur Blank multiple times and believed the job was his just hours before Raheem Morris was named as Atlanta’s next head coach.

Asked at the Super Bowl about the decision to go with Morris, Blank showed nothing but respect and called the coach he didn’t hire “a living legend.” Per ESPN: “What Blank didn’t say was that he and his top lieutenants had voted on the team’s next head coach, ranking each candidate. Bill Belichick didn’t even finish in anyone’s top three. The greatest coach of all time hadn’t come close — and that was as close as Belichick would come in 2024.”

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A reason why Blank didn’t vote for Belichick was because of what Kraft had told him, according to the piece. Per one source, “Robert called Arthur to warn him not to trust Bill.” Another said Kraft “was a big part” of why the Falcons passed on hiring Belichick and multiple sources said New England’s owner made clear to Blank that he’d “never have a warm conversation with” the six-time Super Bowl winner.

Unsurprisingly, the Patriots pushed back on the report Kraft had said anything negative about the coach he fired just months ago. “Robert steadfastly denies saying anything negative to Arthur Blank about Bill Belichick after Robert and Bill mutually agreed to part ways,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James said. “In fact, Robert advocated for Bill to get the job.”

Pretty hard to believe. What’s also difficult to fathom is that Belichick got another gift from ESPN on the same day as the hit piece — a job.

On his sometimes controversial show, polarizing ESPN employee Pat McAfee announced that Belichick will be joining him as the co-host of his Draft Spectacular next Thursday. It’s a weird world…

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