The New England Patriots would like to be focusing on facing the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl, but instead the team is caught up in the drama of DeflateGate and now dealing with rumors that coach Bill Belichick may be its biggest casualty.
The Patriots are accused of purposely deflating balls used in the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts. The NFL reportedly found that 11 of 12 balls checked afterward were filled well below the minimum air pressure, and though it hasn’t yet been proven that the Patriots did it on purpose, the heat is on the AFC champions.
Amid rumors that the New England Patriots could be fined or lose draft picks — or even be disqualified from playing in the Super Bowl — new reports are emerging that the controversy could lead the team to part ways with its long time coach Bill Belichick.
The team’s owner, Robert Kraft was reportedly very angry at the team’s last scandal, dubbed SpyGate. In 2007 the Patriots were caught filming the New York Jets’ defensive signals from the sidelines, leading to a $250,000 fine against the team and a $500,000 fine against Belichick himself — the biggest fine possible for a coach.
If the NFL finds the Patriots responsible for deflating balls used in the AFC Championship Game, there is speculation that Kraft may part ways with Belichick.
It may not even take this. Some are speculating that the NFL could ban Belichick from the Super Bowl — or possibly beyond — as a repeat offender.
If this were to happen, it could be likely that Belichick simply decides to retire. The subject of Belichick’s retirement has come up often in the past few years, especially as quarterback Tom Brady’s career nears its end. It is widely believed that Belichick could retire from the NFL when Brady does, rather than face the prospect of rebuilding the team around a new quarterback.
It isn’t exactly clear when that could happen. Though experts have predicted for the past several years that Brady will start to see a decline in his performance, it has yet to happen, and the 37-year-old Brady is still among the league’s best.
Bill Belichick himself has been shy when talking about his retirement, and in recent days has said even less about the NFL investigation against the New England Patriots. As questions rise about whether the Patriots purposely deflated balls used in the game, Belichick has remained largely silent on the matter.