Report: There’s a belief Bill Belichick will coach only until he passes Don Shula in all-time wins

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick reportedly would like to return to the NFL as a head coach just long enough to break the all-time wins record held by Miami Dolphins legend Don Shula.

“There’s also a belief that Belichick will coach only until he gets 15 more wins, enough to pass Don Shula as the winningest coach in NFL history,” wrote Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler for ESPN.

Unfortunately for Belichick, he currently is without a head-coaching job, and one may not become available to him in the future. After a lengthy historic run with the New England Patriots that ended following the 2023 NFL season, the 72-year-old was a candidate to become the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, but that did not work out, in part because it may have been thought to be a short-term proposition.

“They viewed Belichick as ‘an older, stoic coach who’d blow up the building’ and wouldn’t likely stay beyond two years after he sets the all-time wins record, a source said,” wrote Van Natta, Wickersham and Fowler regarding how many Falcons executives saw Belichick. “Also, [Arthur] Blank hates coaching searches and he would have to do another.”

Shula established his record of 347 regular season and playoff wins with the Baltimore Colts and Dolphins. Following seven seasons with the Colts, he went on to coach the Dolphins for 26 seasons, winning 274 games in a tenure that ended with the 1995 NFL campaign.

He broke the NFL record that was held by George Halas with his 325th victory on Nov. 14, 1993 in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Belichick looked to be well on his way to surpassing that record before falling on some hard times in his final seasons with the Patriots, including a 4-13 record this past season. He has 333 career regular season and playoff victories during his time as head coach of the Cleveland Browns and Patriots.

The Falcons ultimately hired Raheem Morris to replace Arthur Smith this offseason. According to the ESPN report, Belichick is now interested in becoming the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, Philadelphia Eagles or New York Giants. However, a friend of his said the options may be very limited.

“I don’t think Bill Belichick will ever be a head coach again in the National Football League,” the friend said. “Unless it’s [for] Jerry Jones.”

The Dolphins certainly have recently done their part in keeping Belichick further away from the record. Current Miami quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has won all six of his games against the coaching legend during his brief career.

Shula is the only Dolphins head coach to have led them to a Super Bowl championship, winning two all the way back in the 1972 and 1973 NFL seasons. That includes the only undefeated season in NFL history, the historic 1972 campaign when they won all 17 games that they played.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NFL for almost three decades. He has been an avid follower of the AFC East since the days of Bob Griese and is looking forward to an exciting new era in the division.