While it would mean the world to NY Jets fans to end a disappointing season by snapping their losing streak against the New England Patriots and possibly send Bill Belichick into retirement with a loss, there are some adverse side effects that could come with such an unexpected victory.
On top of the fact a New England loss would push them even further toward Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in the 2024 NFL Draft, a loss might make them even more motivated to move off Belichick and begin a new era of football. They could even break their old habits and bring in an external hire.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, who played under Belichick on his dynastic early 2000s teams, is in the middle of the worst season of his career. Vrabel's future in Tennessee is "not clearly settled" right now, and there is a chance that he will be replaced after this season.
Vrabel is a quality coach, and he would relish a second crack at it in the NFL. Going back home to the Patriots makes too much sense if Belichick is on his way out, and such a move could be impactful enough to set the Jets up for even more losing in the half-decade to follow.
Mike Vrabel joining Patriots would be horrible for NY Jets
Vrabel helped Ryan Tannehill resurrect his career, pushed Derrick Henry to 2,000 yards in a season, and helped the Titans reach an AFC championship game by upsetting Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson. Vrabel is 53-45 with three playoff appearances in Tennessee despite average or below-average quarterback play and terrible offensive lines.
Vrabel has had two losing seasons in a row, but his quarterbacks in those seasons have been a regressing and injured Tannehill, a third-rounder who looked overwhelmed in Malik Willis, and a second-rounder who has had some big moments, but is still a rookie in Will Levis. Without amazing defensive talent from the top down, that unit has looked solid.
The most likely internal option for New England seems to be former Patriots linebacker and current de facto defensive coordinator Jerod Mayo. While Mayo was on the field for quite a few infamous moments in Jets history, his lack of experience makes Vrabel the superior target.
Nothing would scream snakebitten Same Old Jets quite like one of the most reviled figures in franchise history retiring, only for New England to land one of the best coaches in the league right after parting with Belichick.