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#pounditTuesday, May 21, 2024

Report reveals why Bill Belichick was hesitant to bring Bill O’Brien back

Bill O'Brien on the sideline at Alabama

Alabama Offensive Coordinator Bill O’Brien during warm ups before the 2021 College Football Playoff Semifinal game at the 86th Cotton Bowl in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas Friday, Dec. 31, 2021. Credit: Gary Cosby Jr./USA TODAY NETWORK

After Josh McDaniels left the New England Patriots to become the head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, there were almost immediate rumblings that Bill Belichick should bring Bill O’Brien back. We may now know why Belichick waited a year to do that.

According to Albert Breer of The MMQB, Belichick was concerned that O’Brien would only stay with the Patriots for a season. Belichick apparently felt that if O’Brien returned to New England as offensive coordinator, O’Brien may do such a good job that he would bolt for a head coach position after just one season. That is one reason Belichick did not try to lure O’Brien away from Alabama a year ago.

“I’m told the reason he didn’t even pursue it with (Nick) Saban. Was out of fear that O’Brien might do well enough in a year to land a head coaching job elsewhere, leaving the Patriots to replace a coordinator two years in a row,” Breer wrote, via Mark Daniels of

If that is accurate, it is not the best look for Belichick. While you can understand him being concerned about losing offensive coordinators in back-to-back seasons, Breer’s report essentially means Belichick was confident O’Brien would do a great job. The head coach obviously believed a combination of himself, Matt Patricia and Joe Judge could handle the offense just as well without the risk of having to make major changes in 2023. He was wrong about that.

A report before the season claimed Belichick passed over O’Brien for a different reason, but it seems there was more to the story.


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