Patriots

Bedard: Could Bill Belichick be facing his toughest challenge as Patriots coach?

(Adam Richins for BSJ)

When you've been an NFL head coach for 24 years — 18 in one, highly successful place — there isn't a lot that you haven't seen, endured or overcome.

Bill Belichick, obviously, has certainly seen and conquered it all.

Not only did he face the Browns leaving Cleveland in his first coaching stint, but his Patriots tenure started with the harshest of challenges — benching the franchise quarterback for an unassuming backup. Toss in the whole Lawyer Milloy — "They hate their coach" — episode and Belichick's start in New England was a baptism by scorching fire.

That's only continued in the years since, whether it be with Spygate, the 2009 squad, Randy Moss' meltdown, Deflategate, Aaron Hernandez and Yoko Guerrero.

And Belichick has largely come out the other side successfully.

But with the 2018 Patriots leaking oil with a two-game losing streak heading into the final two games of the season, starting with today's clash with the 5-9 Bills, the argument could be made that Belichick is facing the toughest challenge of his tenure.

Look, I get it, many will scoff at that statement.

Drew Bledsoe?! Spygate?! A murderer in the midst?! Bedahd, you been making some trips to Cultivate in Leicester or whaaat? Come on, bro.

But hear me out, with the focus on the in-season performance and with the Patriots having uncharacteristic struggles late in the schedule.

In my opinion, you can divide up some of the other Belichick challenges into categories:

1. This is going to blow people's minds outside the building (and some in it), but this is the best thing for this football team.