Bill Belichick clarifies remark: Pats 'not resting on past laurels'

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday that the team's championship success in his 23-year tenure isn't part of his mindset when looking ahead to the 2023 season.

"We're not resting on our past laurels; that's not the message to the team or the fans," Belichick told the Boston Globe at Louisiana State's pro day. "We have never operated that way and aren't now."

Belichick's remarks to the Globe came two days after he held a Q&A session with a larger group of reporters at the NFL's annual meeting in Phoenix. Toward the end of that 28-minute media session, Belichick was asked what he would say to fans to give them a reason to be optimistic for what's ahead.

He responded: "The last 25 years."

Belichick's reference to the past caught the attention of some of his former players, such as ESPN analyst Tedy Bruschi and longtime tight end Benjamin Watson, who noted that Belichick often stressed to them that the past doesn't matter. That might have contributed to Belichick's follow-up with the Globe on Wednesday.

Belichick enters his 24th season as Patriots coach and has won six Super Bowls and nine AFC championships over that span, while posting a 292-120 record in the regular season and 30-12 mark in the playoffs. Including his tenure as Cleveland Browns coach from 1991 to 1995, he has totaled 329 career victories, with only the late Don Shula (347) ahead of him on the all-time wins list (playoffs included).

But the Patriots finished 8-9 last season, and in 2020, they were 7-9. Those sub-.500 seasons bookended a 10-7 campaign in 2021, which included a blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

Caesars Sportsbook has the Patriots at 70-1 to win the Super Bowl this season, the team's longest preseason Super Bowl odds under Belichick. According to SportsOddsHistory.com, it's the franchise's longest preseason Super Bowl odds since 1993, when it was 100-1.

The last time the Patriots entered a season at least 50-1 to win the Super Bowl was 2001, when they defeated the St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI for their first title with Belichick and Tom Brady.