BATON ROUGE, La. — In looking ahead, Bill Belichick briefly looked back during Monday’s coaches’ breakfast at the NFL’s annual meeting in Phoenix.
Toward the end of his question-and-answer session with reporters, Belichick was asked what he’d say to Patriots fans to give them a reason to be optimistic for the season ahead.
“The last 25 years,” Belichick said.
Catching up with the Patriots coach at LSU’s Pro Day Wednesday, Belichick made it clear the comment was not meant to be taken as a brag.
“We’re not resting on our past laurels; that’s not the message to the team or the fans,” said Belichick, who indicated he was answering the question from a fan’s perspective. “We have never operated that way and aren’t now.”
Belichick is preparing for his 24th season as Patriots coach, having won six Super Bowls and nine AFC championships. In all, Belichick has posted a 292-120 record with New England, including a 30-12 playoff mark.
His 329 career wins are second all time, with Miami’s Don Shula at the top of the list at 347.
As for overtaking Shula, Belichick said it’s not something he thinks about, adding that there would be a time to reflect on his accomplishments someday.
“I have a great respect for the game and all that, [but] I’m not really focused on that right now,” he said. “The 2023 season is all I’m concerned about.”
Belichick, who will turn 71 next month, is still invigorated by the process of preparing a football team, as evidenced by his presence at LSU, where he watched 16 NFL hopefuls run through various drills.
He also expressed optimism for the upcoming season and said he’s looking forward to working with new staff members and players recently added in free agency.
“I think we’ve been pretty competitive every year that I’ve been here with the Patriots. That’s our overall plan,” he said in Phoenix. “So, I expect it to continue that way. I think the team has been managed pretty well over the last 20-however-many years. So, I think we’ll continue managing it the way we’ve been competitive every year. I expect we’ll continue to be competitive.”
Jim McBride can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.