Bill Belichick alongside Bill O'Brien Jul 26, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Bill O’Brien (right) points something out to head coach Bill Belichick during training camp at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

Former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has had numerous assistant coaches end up going on to coach at the NFL level. But for the most part, they have largely failed to stick on as head coaches.

Belichick has had 12 assistant coaches go on to coach at the NFL level, most recently with the likes of Josh McDaniels, Matt Patricia, and Joe Judge all struggle leading the ship as head coaches.

In fact, less than half of the 12 assistant coaches who ended up getting NFL head coaching opportunities managed to hold onto their head coaching gig for more than three years at one spot.

This obviously begs the question. Is this an indictment on Belichick as a mentor? Or were the likes of McDaniels, Patricia, and Judge among others bound to fail even without the influence of Belichick?

Recent reports from ESPN into Bill Belichick’s inability to land a head coaching gig suggest that Falcons owner Arthur Blank was asking this same question while looking into Belichick as a potential head coaching candidate for the Falcons.

Blank reportedly asked Belichick why so many of his assistants had ultimately failed to find any success as head coaches after leaving his side.

His answer was a pretty harsh one, saying that he felt his assistants were “better soldiers than generals.”

It could be just as simple as Belichick’s explanation. Not everyone is cut out to be an NFL head coach, as there are far more responsibilities that come with the job than what is asked of an assistant coach in the NFL.

And to be fair to Belichick, he does have one major success story from his coaching tree. But it just didn’t come at the NFL level.

Legendary Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban of course coached under Belichick while the two were with the Cleveland Browns organization. Saban of course famously flamed out as an NFL coach, but was able to build a dynasty in Tuscaloosa at the collegiate level.


About Reice Shipley

Reice Shipley is a staff writer for Comeback Media that graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Sports Media. He previously worked at Barrett Sports Media and is a fan of all things Syracuse sports.