NFL

Belichick exploits will never be matched, says former Patriots safety Harmon

By Sports Desk January 15, 2024

Bill Belichick's exploits with the New England Patriots will never be replicated and mark him out as the best coach in NFL history, according to the team's former safety Duron Harmon.

Last week, team owner Robert Kraft announced the end of Belichick's remarkable 24-year stint in charge of the Patriots, who he led to six Super Bowl titles – the most of any coach in the league's history.  

Belichick led New England to 18 playoff trips after taking charge in 2000, but the team missed the postseason in three of his final four campaigns at the helm. 

Their 4-13 record throughout the 2023 season was their worst under Belichick, whose last playoff win came back in 2019 as the Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams at Super Bowl LIII.

Despite a less-than-stellar end to his distinguished run in New England, Harmon – who won three Super Bowls throughout a six-year stint with the team between 2013 and 2019 – says Belichick's place in the history books is secure.

Asked what Belichick's Patriots legacy amounted to, Harmon told Stats Perform: "In my opinion, he's just the best coach who ever graced the NFL. 

"What he was able to accomplish over those 20-plus years as a Patriots coach, we've never seen it before. It will never be duplicated. 

"He set the standard extremely high for when people try to talk about dynasties. I'm just forever grateful that he chose me to be a part of his team and to be a part of his legacy."

While Belichick will turn 72 in April, it has been suggested that he may stay in the league as he chases down Don Shula's all-time record of 347 wins (regular season and playoffs), a tally he is currently 14 shy of.

The Los Angeles Chargers have been touted as a potential destination for Belichick, but Harmon cannot see the Patriots legend coaching elsewhere.

"I just can't see it," he said. "He and Tom Brady are the Patriots. They're what the Patriots stand for, to do your job, hard-nosed gritty football, those two together built the Patriots organisation. 

"So to see him go somewhere else... me personally, I can't see it, but the beauty about sports is you just never know. In due time, we will figure out whether he'll be somewhere else."

For the Patriots, attention quickly turned to the search for Belichick's successor, and 37-year-old former linebackers coach Jerod Mayo became the league's youngest head coach when his promotion was made official on Friday.

Having shared a locker room with Mayo throughout his first three seasons with the Patriots, Harmon believes he has all the attributes required to be a success. 

"My time there with him… he's a tremendous, tremendous leader. A leader of men, an intelligent person," Harmon said of Mayo.

"Most people say he's just a smart football player, but he's just an intelligent person. Straight out of retirement, he went and worked for a company, a big Fortune 500 company. 

"It shows who he is as a person and as a leader, that as soon as he gets done playing, somebody wants to hire him to lead this division of their company. 

"If I had to put my hat on or give my blessing to anybody, it would be Jerod Mayo."

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