Jets defeat Patriots in Week 18, tying Bill Belichick for most losses by a head coach in NFL history

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With Bill Belichick on the hot seat there’s a very real chance that he might have just coached his final game with the Patriots, and if that’s the case, his 24-year career in New England is going to end on a sour note. 

Not only did the Patriots lose to the Jets 17-3, but the loss was the 165th of Belichick’s career, which means the 71-year-old has now tied the NFL record for most losses ever by a head coach. 

At the start of the 2023 season, Belichick had 152 career losses, which put him well behind the NFL record of 165, a mark that’s held by both Jeff Fisher and Dan Reeves. Before 2023, Belichick had never suffered a 13-loss season in his 23 years with the Patriots, so the idea of him tying the record in 2023 didn’t really seem possible, but with the Patriots losing to the Jets, Belichick has now hit the record. 

Here’s a look at the current list for most all-time losses: 

T-1. Dan Reeves: 190-165-2
T-1. Jeff Fisher: 173-165-1
T-1. Bill Belichick: 302-165-0
4. Tom Landry: 250-162-6
5. Don Shula: 328-156-6

If you include playoff losses, Belichick has also tied the all-time record, which is a mark that former Cowboys coach Tom Landry previously had to himself. 

Most losses (including playoff games)

1. Tom Landry: 270-178-6
2. Bill Belichick: 333-177-0
3. Dan Reeves: 201-174-2
4. Don Shula: 347-173-6
5. Jeff Fisher: 178-171-1

The fact that Belichick tied the record by losing to the Jets definitely adds insult to injury and that’s mostly because the Jets have been the one team the Patriots have been able to dominate more than any other. Going into Week 18, New England currently had a 15-game winning streak against the Jets, which dated to December 2015. 

Even though the loss to New York might end up being Belichick’s final game in New England with the team, he didn’t want to talk about his future in the days leading up to the game

“I’m committed to the team that I’m coaching right now, the players that are here,” Belichick said. “They deserve my best every day, and that’s what I’m going to give them.”

Although Belichick might eventually set the record for most losses — which will happen if he loses just one more game in his career — it’s unlikely anyone will be holding that against him when he eventually retires. The fact of the matter is that breaking the record is actually a testament to his success and his longevity. If you’re in the NFL long enough, no matter how successful you are, you’re definitely going to fail at times. If you fail too often, you’ll get fired and you won’t be around long enough to lose 165 games. 

No matter what happens with Belichick’s future, the six-time Super Bowl-winning coach will always be remembered as one of the best coaches in NFL history. And let’s not forget, Belichick will also likely soon set the NFL record for most wins. 

As things currently stand, Belichick has 333 career victories, including playoffs, which puts him just 14 wins behind Don Shula on the all-time list. This means that if Belichick can turn things around in 2024 with a new team (or with the Patriots), he could tie or break the all-time wins record as soon as next season.

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