An explosive ESPN story published Friday outlined a power struggle between Patriots coach Bill Belichick, quarterback Tom Brady and owner Robert Kraft.
Imagine hoodies with their sleeves cut off becoming a Fifth Avenue fashion statement.
Bring Bill Back Home.
Can Bill Belichick, yes Bill Belichick, be the next coach of the Giants?
“I’m sure Bill knows this is his last chance to be the Giants coach,” a source close to Belichick said Friday. “Bill sees an opening – an opening to get to the Giants.”
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The source said he’s not certain if the reported friction and tension in New England will prompt Belichick to force his way out, but if he does, he said he is certain, “The Giants are the only place he wants to be.”
John Mara, Steve Tisch and Dave Gettleman must work their contacts to find out if Belichick wants the Giants head coaching job after explosive details emerged Friday in an ESPN story of a fracture in the relationship between Belichick on one side and Tom Brady and Robert Kraft on the other. The source has not spoken to Belichick since the story came out, but is very familiar with The Hoodie’s desire to coach the Giants.
What should the Giants do?
If The Hoodie is available or can be talked out of New England … well, go get him. How could they not? He’s the best coach in NFL history.
Maybe his pal the president will even give him an apartment in Trump Tower.
Interestingly, as Belichick’s future became the talk of the NFL, Mara, Gettleman and assistant GM Kevin Abrams were in Foxborough interviewing New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.
McDaniels is considered the favorite for the Giants job and has already interviewed with the Colts. Patricia is considered the favorite in Detroit. If Belichick loses his coordinators, it could be another reason he looks for the exit. If Belichick leaves, McDaniels becomes the favorite to replace him. There are a lot of moving parts.
According to the report, Kraft ordered Belichick to trade future star Jimmy Garoppolo, the story implying it was to support Brady, who is 40 years old and wants to play several more seasons, and to ease Brady’s concern that Belichick wanted to switch to Garoppolo. Even five-time Super Bowl champs, four-time Super Bowl MVPs, can be insecure.
The Patriots dynasty could be crumbling. It’s only surprising egos had not already toppled it.
The Giants, meanwhile, have an attractive opening. Despite their 3-13 season, they are considered a stable franchise with tradition and have the No. 2 pick in the draft.
This now becomes a delicate situation for the Giants with timing crucial. They will regret it if they make a hire and then Belichick works his way free from the Patriots after the season and still wants to coach. But they also can’t wait to find out and miss out on their other candidates if he stays. That’s why they must get information as soon as possible.
“He wants to be the Giants coach. I know that for a fact,” the source said. “That would be pretty cool. My guess is if he wants out, the Giants already know. He would be great with Gettleman. Bill is a football guy. Gettleman is a football guy.”
Of course, there is precedent for a Giants coaching legend growing tired of Kraft’s meddling and working his way back to New York. Bill Parcells established the blueprint when he coached the Patriots to the Super Bowl with one foot out the door during the playoffs on his way to the Jets in 1997.
Parcells also came very close to returning to the Giants right before he took the Jets job, but faced resistance from GM George Young. Now Belichick might be able to pull it off.
The Jets eventually had to give up one draft pick in each of the first four rounds spread over three seasons as compensation for Parcells. The Patriots gave the Jets a first-round pick for Belichick in 2000. Clearly, the Giants are not giving up their first-round pick when they will likely take potential franchise quarterback Sam Darnold or Josh Rosen when it figures Belichick will only coach a few more years, but other than that, there should be a path to a deal with Kraft, who is close to Mara.
Belichick still has a very soft spot for the Giants, even though they beat him twice in the Super Bowl. He made his name in his 12 years with Big Blue, working the final six as Parcells’ defensive coordinator. He helped the Giants win their first two Super Bowls.
NFL Films followed Belichick around for the 2009 season. Prior to a preseason game against the Giants in the final year of Giants Stadium, the camera crew accompanied Belichick around the Giants locker room. Belichick pointed out the racquetball courts, the coaches locker room and other areas.
He stopped at one point and became teary-eyed.
“This is a great organization,” he said. “It’s hard not to get choked up about it. I loved it here. I loved it here.”
After losing to the Giants a second time in the Super Bowl following the 2011 season, he gave Tom Coughlin an extraordinarily long hug. They worked together for three years on Parcells’ staff.
Even though Belichick is 65 years old, he doesn’t seem to be burned out on coaching. He’s in his 18th season with the Patriots and in the first 17 has been to seven Super Bowls and won five and New England could be on its way to winning another Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.
Belichick, like most coaches, doesn’t enter the final year of his contract. It hurts recruiting free agents and it takes away some of their authority if the players believe the coach is a lame duck. In this case, I’ve heard Kraft specifically won’t allow Belichick to enter the final year because he’s been concerned he would go to the Giants.
The Patriots responded to the ESPN story with a joint statement from Kraft, Belichick and Brady, denying that there is rift: ““For the past 18 years, the three of us have enjoyed a very good and productive working relationship…We stand united.”
Will a 65-year old coach, a 40-year old quarterback and a 76-year old owner really want to break up the band before they win every Super Bowl possible? Because of a problem with Brady’s personal trainer? Because of the Garoppolo trade? Because Brady feels unappreciated by Belichick?
If this is it for Belichick in New England, it will be good news for the Jets and could be great news for the Giants.
Once A Giant, Always a Giant.