KC Joyner has said that great coaches have 10 year lifetimes in this league. By that measure, Bill's time is up. It remains to be seen if Bill recognizes that he needs to re-invent himself, and whether he has the ability to do so. Like many before him, Bill is a victim of his own success. Coaches like Harbaugh and Payton consciously credit Bill as having inspired their approaches to organizational excellence. Because of his extraordinary success, every organization in the league has studied the Patriot way, and have not only tried to incorporate its best features but also to better it. Everything about Belichick's system has been dissected and analyzed. What was fresh and new in 2001 is now well understood and even predictable. That's the very competitive phenomenon driving the KC Joyner conjecture. On defense, Bill's system is now predictable, and even tired. His "bend-but-don't-break" defensive style is failing in the face of the potent offenses enabled by the cumulative rule changes. Look at what Rex Ryan has been able to accomplish this year in New York with his fresher, pressuring approach. On offense, Bill was both inspired and lucky in picking up Moss, Welker, and Stallworth in 2007. But has drifted into a terribly predictable reliance on Brady to Welker under the threat of Moss. Now Moss is older, Welker is seriously injured, and Stallworth and Gaffney are gone. And every defense in the league is scheming and recruiting to stop that attack. It's no accident that the best two pass defenses in the league are both in the AFC East. With Pioli, Bill had a unique ability to manage the cap and a ruthless philosophy of purging stars just past their prime, and replacing them with cost effective veterans that were fits for his unique system. Now neither his approach nor his system are unique. Value is being lost faster than it is being replaced. We all fear that Belichick will now stubbornly lose his one great player on defense, Vince Wilfork. On top of this is Bill's hubris in the face of it all. His organization has been gutted; the losses of Crennel, Weis, Pioli, Mangini, and McDaniel et al have not been made good. Bill Belichick, the game-day defensive coordinator, believes he can make do without an offensive coordinator? I can only imagine how desperate the scrambling must have been this last week as he attempted to re-target the offense away from it's deadening dependency on Wes Welker, all without the help of an experienced offensive coordinator. While trying to get the whole team ready for the Ravens. For a guy who made his reputation as a coordinator, it's remarkable how casually Bill Belichick has come to disrespect the position. The league, learning from Bill, has caught up and is now surpassing him. The deep belief in the very principles that have made him one of the greatest football coach/gm's of all time now also acts to make him predictable. It's very difficult to scout yourself objectively, and to realize that some deeply held beliefs may no longer be operant or productive. He needs to realize he needs help, and needs to bring fresh ideas into his organization, if he is to ever have any hope of returning to pre-eminence in his profession. It won't be easy, and it's probably not even obvious to Bill that it's personally worth it for him to try, or even if he can succeed. But surely he doesn't want to end up like Paul Brown, Al Davis, Don Shula, or Joe Gibbs, coaching on long after the magic was gone. Retire or reinvent, Bill. In any case, it was a great, great run, perhaps the greatest of all time. But we'd sure like to see you prove KC Joyner wrong.