The Patriots announced on Thursday that they have mutually agreed to part ways with head coach Bill Belichick, closing the final chapter on New England’s dynasty.
Belichick spent 24 years as the Patriots head coach. He owned a 266-121 regular season record, producing 20 winning campaigns and 18 playoff appearances. He tallied a 30-11 postseason record, winning nine AFC championships and six Super Bowls, both of which are the most by a head coach in NFL history.
After two decades of dominance, Belichick will move on to the next stop in his career. And for the first time since 2000, New England is back in the market for a new head coach.
MORE: 8 best Patriots coaching candidates to replace Belichick, from Jerod Mayo to Mike Vrabel
In the 24 years since the Patriots hired Belichick, the other 31 NFL teams have used 162 different head coaches in 224 total coaching stints, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Paul Hembekides.
It’s been so long since someone other than Belichick has commanded the sidelines in New England, it’s easy to remember that there were Pats’ coaches before him.
The Sporting News takes a closer look at the history of the Patriots’ head coaches below.
Who coached the Patriots before Bill Belichick? Looking back at New England’s history of head coaches
Pete Carroll, 1997-1999
The last Patriots head coach before Belichick was Carroll who, ironically, is sharing the headlines with his successor after being let go by the Seahawks on Wednesday.
Carroll spent three seasons as head coach of the Patriots from 1997 to 1999. He took over for Bill Parcells, who departed from New England because of turmoil with ownership despite leading the Patriots to the Super Bowl the year prior.
Carroll went 27-21 over three seasons in New England. He led the Patriots to an 10-6 record and an AFC East title in his first season in 1997, but they lost a 7-6 rock fight against the Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round.
In 1998, New England went 9-7 and earned a Wild Card berth but failed to win a playoff game again, this time falling to the Jaguars.
After the Patriots went 8-8 in 1999 and missed the playoffs, Carroll was fired.
Bill Parcells, 1993-1996
Parcells came out of a two-year retirement to take over a struggling Patriots team that had just finished with an NFL-worst 2-14 record.
New England went 5-11 in the first year under Parcells but things started looking up after it selected future star quarterback Drew Bledsoe with the first overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft.
Bledsoe led the NFL in passing yards as a rookie under Parcells, finishing with a 10-6 record. The Patriots lost a tiebreaker to the Dolphins for the AFC East title but still made the playoffs, falling to the Browns — and their then-head coach, Belichick — in the Wild Card Round.
MORE: Breaking down potential 2024 landing spots for Belichick
New England went 6-10 in 1995, the only year it missed the playoffs under Parcells.
In 1996, Parcells hired Belichick as an assistant head coach and defensive backs coach, and the tandem would help the Patriots bounce back with an 11-5 record and AFC East title. New England would go on to lose Brett Favre and the Packers in the Super Bowl that season.
As mentioned above, Parcells departed from the Patriots in the 1996 offseason after a dispute with team owner Robert Kraft.
Dick MacPherson, 1991-1992
MacPherson took over for Rod Rust in 1991 after spending 10 seasons as head coach at Syracuse University.
He turned the Patriots from a 1-15 team in 1990 to a 6-10 team in 1991. The success didn’t last long, as New England went a disappointing 2-14 in MacPherson’s second season. He was fired after the 1992 season.
MORE: Tom Brady honors Belichick: ‘The best coach in the history of the NFL’
Rod Rust, 1990
Rust was the Patriots defensive coordinator from 1983 to 1987. He took over as New England’s head coach in 1990 after stops in Kansas City and Pittsburgh as a defensive coordinator.
The Patriots went a franchise-worst 1-15 under Rust, posting a -265 point differential. He was fired after one season.
Before 1990: Eight head coaches
The Boston/New England Patriots had eight head coaches since the organization joined the NFL in 1971.
- 1971-72: John Mazur
- 1972: Phil Bengtson
- 1973-78: Chuck Fairbanks
- 1978: Ron Erhardt/Hank Bullough (co-head coaches for one game)
- 1979-81: Ron Erhardt
- 1982-1984: Ron Meyer
- 1984-1989: Ron Berry