FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Bill Belichick, who turns 70 in April, said he still wants to coach in 2022 and will begin the process of moving forward after his New England Patriots team was rocked by the Buffalo Bills 47-17 in the wild-card round of the AFC playoffs Saturday night.
Belichick, the NFL’s longest-tenured head coach, notably once said he didn’t plan to coach into his 70s like former Bills coach Marv Levy. He later softened those remarks.
Asked Sunday morning whether it’s safe to say he wants to return next season, he replied: “I’d say that would be accurate.”
Upon the team’s return home from Orchard Park, New York, Belichick held a 30-minute season-ending video conference in which he reflected on the Patriots’ 10-8 campaign, his 22nd as head coach. He said he planned to take “a longer view” while noting that the blowout loss was troubling.
“You could argue there were elements of last night’s game in some other games, but last night’s game was the least competitive game we played,” he said. “Is that what we are? Or is that a bad night? We’ll see when we start playing again next year, I guess.”
The Bills, who have won the AFC East each of the past two seasons, scored touchdowns on their first seven drives, becoming the first team to ever do so in a playoff game.
Belichick noted the “ups and downs” of the Patriots’ season, which included a 2-4 start and a seven-game winning streak before they sputtered down the stretch, losing three of their final four regular-season games.
“Certainly last night’s game was important and I’m not in any way trying to minimize that, but at the same time, there are 17 other meaningful games, so 18 in all, that I think we really need to look at and see how we can do a better job of everything — coaching, playing, schematically, whatever adjustments we need to make there,” Belichick said. “That will be a thorough process, as it always is.”
Belichick publicly thanked his players, coaches and support staff for their work, saying he appreciated their “ability to adjust and professionally do things and do things the right way.”
Asked about rookie quarterback Mac Jones, who started all 18 games, Belichick said: “Mac helped us a lot. I look forward to working with him next year.”
Belichick has a career record of 321-156 (including playoffs) and is the only head coach in NFL history to win six Super Bowl championships. He is third behind Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324) on the career wins list for head coaches.