Of all NFL people expected to be highlighted in an item on the Page Six gossip website, Patriots coach Bill Belichick would have to be pretty low on the list. Yet, there he is, apparently heading toward what is described as a “drawn-out, back-and-forth breakup” with longtime girlfriend Linda Holliday, who is still living with him on Nantucket, according to Page Six.
Now, the heartstrings of the team’s 71-year-old coach generally would have no bearing on the Patriots as a team, and might be of little interest to New England’s fans … except for one little detail that cropped up in the Page Six report: “The boss’s love woes are causing stormy seas around his usually peaceful Nantucket existence — and they’re even making team execs nervy.”
Around the offices at One Patriots Place, it seems, there is some worry that Holliday could spill some secrets, either about Belichick himself or the team in general. Or maybe Holliday knows what really happened with Bailey Zappe. Egads.
“We’re told the team bigs are nervously wondering what Holliday might choose to muse about online next, now they’ve split,” the site reported.
Belichick on the Hot Seat in 2023?
As for coaching heading into 2023, Belichick is in an odd position. He will be at the helm for the 24th straight season in New England, but for the first time in his tenure, Belichick’s grip on the role of Patriots’ leading man is a bit slippery.
Despite his six Super Bowl rings, Belichick is under pressure to pull together a Patriots team that is just 25-25 since the departure of quarterback Tom Brady three years ago. That won’t be easy to do in a loaded AFC and an especially loaded AFC East, where talent upgrades for the Dolphins, Jets and Bills could put the Patriots in line to finish last in their division for the first time since 2000.
Still, Belichick looks forward to the challenge of Week 1 each season.
“It’s the same in that it’s so different, right?” Belichick told reporters. “I mean it’s the same, but you look at a team like Philadelphia, you get 20 games from last year, got a handful of games from this year where not a lot of players are playing that we’re going to see on Sunday. So, there’s certainly a lot of unknowns.
“I’m sure they’ll make a few adjustments and subtle changes like every team will do. I’m sure they’ll have a couple things cooked up for us that they think we’re vulnerable on. So, there is some of those that won’t show up until gameday. There probably will be a change or two in the lineup from what we think it’s going to be for whatever reason. So, we’ll be ready for those types of things, but that’s all a part of Opening Day.”
Belichick on Coaching: ‘Beats Working for a Living’
As for the possibility of retirement, Belichick is not going there, no matter how cranky his lady trouble might have made him lately. Beyond his time in New England, Belichick has been working at the job of coaching football since he was 22, working as a special assistant for the Baltimore Colts.
That gives him nearly five decades in the business, yet he continues to look forward to game planning for Week 1 every year.
“It’s what I do,” Belichick said.
When he was asked why, Belichick had an honest answer.
“I enjoy it,” he said. “It beats working. It beats working for a living.”
Sean Deveney is a veteran sports reporter covering the NBA and NFL for Heavy.com. He has written for Heavy since 2019 and has more than two decades of experience covering the NBA, including 17 years as the lead NBA reporter for the Sporting News. Deveney is the author of 7 nonfiction books, including “Fun City,” “Before Wrigley became Wrigley,” and “Facing Michael Jordan.” More about Sean Deveney
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