The world of football was rocked this week by the surprise retirement of three of the greatest coaches in history – Bill Belichick, Nick Saban, and Pete Carroll. These departures mark the end of three iconic coaching careers that have dominated and shaped their respective levels of football for over two decades.
Belichick Leaves Patriots After Making History
On Wednesday, Bill Belichick announced he is stepping down after an unprecedented 23 year run as head coach of the New England Patriots. Belichick departs with a record eight Super Bowl titles as a head coach, having led the Patriots dynasty since 2000. He leaves behind a legacy that includes:
- Most Super Bowl wins ever (8) as a head coach
- Regular season record of 289-95 with Patriots
- 30 playoff wins, most ever
- Coached Patriots to 17 AFC East titles
Belichick reflected on his legendary tenure in an emotional press conference, pointing to the support from ownership, players, coaches and staff over the year. At 72 years old, it appears Belichick felt it was simply time to walk away on top and pass the torch.
Many were shocked at the sudden retirement, as Belichick had given no indications he was ready to leave football. Just last month he stated “I love football, I love coaching, I love this team.” But in the end, he departs the same way he arrived in New England – quickly and decisively making a bold move that catches everyone by surprise.
Saban Steps Down After Building Alabama Dynasty
The college football world also saw an all-time great hang up his whistle on Wednesday, as the 72-year old Nick Saban announced his retirement from Alabama. Saban turned the Crimson Tide into the sport’s preeminent program, stocked annually with 5-star recruits that powered his relentless pursuit of championships. His Alabama tenure concludes featuring:
- 7 national titles (6 with Alabama)
- 25 consensus All-Americans and 5 Heisman trophy winners coached
- Regarded as the greatest college coach ever by many
Saban had mentioned in recent years he didn’t want to stay too long at Alabama. He ultimately decided now was the right time, stating “I can’t predict the future, but I can be thankful for the past.” Saban departs college football as a true icon of the sport who raised Alabama football to unmatched sustained success.
Carroll Also Calls it Quits After Return to NFL
Rounding out Wednesday’s shocking coaching news, the 72-year old Pete Carroll announced he is retiring after 13 seasons back in the NFL with the Seattle Seahawks. Carroll’s second stint in the NFL re-established him as one of the league’s elite head coaches and included:
- Super Bowl title in 2013 (Seattle’s only championship)
- Two NFC titles and nine playoff appearances
- 152 total wins with Seattle
Carroll indicated Seattle’s early playoff exit this season played a role in his decision to walk away now. He said there were no regrets though, stating “It’s been a great, great run, but it’s time. The program is in great shape going forward.” Carroll revived his coaching career in Seattle after being fired by New England and the Jets in the 1990s.
How Their Careers Stack Up
|8 Super Bowls
|7 (FBS) titles
|15-6 (college playoffs)
|1 Super Bowl, 2 NFC titles
What Happens Next
The departure of three legendary coaches now opens up massive job opportunities in New England, Tuscaloosa, and Seattle. All three programs are considered among the best situations in their respective sports. They offer coaches a chance to win big right away with solid infrastructure in places.
In New England, linebackers coach Jerod Mayo emerges as an early favorite. The 36-year old has quickly risen up the coaching ranks and has a strong relationship with ownership. Alabama will conduct a full search, as they look for a worthy successor who can handle theCrimson Tide’s championship expectations. Seattle’s search starts internally, with defensive coordinator Sean Desai and offensive coordinator Shane Waldron the early frontrunners.
These openings should create a ripple effect throughout football. Other college jobs like Auburn and LSU could pursue candidates that Alabama targets. In the NFL, teams with vacancies will aim big with the Seattle and New England jobs now available. The 2024 offseason may see unprecedented coaching movement between the college and pro levels.
The departure of these coaching legends begins a new era across the sport. Their success raised expectations so high it will be near impossible to match. But for now, the focus turns to celebrating the incredible careers of three coaches who left an indelible, unmatched mark across nearly three decades of championship football. College and pro football may never see dominance like this again from head coaches over such a long stretch. For rivals of Alabama, New England, and Seattle – there is relief. But for the sport overall, there is a definite sadness in knowing these iconic coaching careers have come to an end after rewriting so many record books.
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