Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Bryan Manning

Report: Bill Belichick was ‘very interested’ in Commanders’ head coaching job

It’s not often you need a head coach and a six-time Super Bowl champion is available. That was the case for the Washington Commanders this offseason. After the Patriots mutually agreed to part ways with Bill Belichick, the 72-year-old reportedly still wanted to coach.

Two jobs stood out early as possibilities for Belichick: the Atlanta Falcons and the Los Angeles Chargers. However, it was apparent that the Chargers were all-in on Jim Harbaugh, leaving the Falcons.

Belichick interviewed with the Falcons and was expected to have a second interview, but eventually, Atlanta hired Raheem Morris. The Commanders opening remained, but Belichick was never asked to interview, and the job eventually went to Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

Was Washington even interested in Belichick?

According to Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Commanders minority owner Magic Johnson was interested and made his pitch for the future Hall of Fame coach.

Washington seemed to be another good fit, and multiple sources said Belichick was very interested. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and the combination of his hometown ties and football acumen might have helped the Commanders win and land a stadium in Washington, D.C., considered the most-prized location for a new venue. Commanders minority owner Magic Johnson lobbied hard for Belichick to be the team’s new head coach, sources said. Belichick spoke to new Commanders GM Adam Peters, a former Patriots staffer, and said he respected the job Peters had done in personnel since he had left New England, helping the Broncos and 49ers reach a combined three Super Bowls.

Apparently, managing partner Josh Harris discussed Belichick with Patriots owner Robert Kraft but was not interested in hiring him, instead preferring to hire a general manager first. Belichick held control over personnel during his tenure in New England, a model he likely preferred at a potential new destination.

However, principal owner Josh Harris, who had spoken privately with Kraft about Belichick, told confidants in early December that he respected Belichick but wasn’t going to hire him. He wanted the same leadership structure he has with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils: a strong general manager over a head coach. Harris’ hiring of the 44-year-old Peters as GM before he looked for a coach was a big tell that Belichick was not a fit, a decision that Johnson endorsed. A source close to Belichick said the coach had questions about working in a strong-GM system. Washington decided to hire Cowboys defensive coordinator and former Falcons head coach Dan Quinn. The victim of the Patriots’ 28-3 Super Bowl comeback had a job. The primary architect of that historic victory did not.

Was this the right move for the Commanders? Only time will tell, but the early signs are positive for the Quinn/Peters partnership. Of course, Washington must win. After four years of Ron Rivera as the head coach/GM, that route didn’t appear to be one Harris would follow.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.