Not even Magic Johnson could convince Commanders to hire Bill Belichick

Bill Belichick had a powerful backer for the Washington Commanders job, but it wasn't enough.
Magic Johnson, Washington Commanders
Magic Johnson, Washington Commanders / Tasos Katopodis/GettyImages

The Washington Commanders went with a classic retread hire at head coach this offseason, prying Dan Quinn away from the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator role. Quinn was able to lead the Atlanta Falcons to the Super Bowl in 2017, a tremendous accomplishment that is shrouded in bitterness (28-3, you know the deal).

He is, essentially, a good head coach with well-defined limitations. He will address the Commanders' porous defense, which prior head coach Ron Rivera could never figure out despite his own defensive background. Quinn is surrounded by a great collection of decision-makers and play-callers, too. Adam Peters was part of several Super Bowl-winning front offices in New England, Denver, and San Francisco prior to landing with the Commanders. Kliff Kingsbury didn't fare too well as an NFL head coach, but the dude can organize an offense. He's going to love Jayden Daniels.

All of Washington's offseason changes were spearheaded by a new ownership group, led by billionaire Josh Harris (owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, too). Included in the new ownership group is NBA legend Magic Johnson, who also owns shares of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Sparks, and LAFC.

Johnson has carved out quite the business presence since his NBA retirement in 1996. He briefly held court at the Los Angeles Lakers' president of basketball operations, but it was a disaster from the start, and Magic famously dipped out on his own accord. He has experience in personnel management and team-building, but not all experience is good experience.

That is worth noting when processing the latest report from Don Van Natta Jr., Seth Wickersham, and Jeremy Fowler of ESPN. Apparently, Johnson went to bat for Bill Belichick when the Commanders were searching for a new head coach. Belichick spoke with Adam Peters and paid many complements to Washington's new GM, but ultimately, Josh Harris and the higher-ups preferred a strong GM standing above the coach, and therefore didn't see Belichick as a fit. Robert Kraft may or may not have put in a bad word, too.

"Washington seemed to be another good fit, and multiple sources said Belichick was very interested. He grew up in Annapolis, Maryland, and the combination of his hometown ties and football acumen might have helped the Commanders win and land a stadium in Washington, D.C., considered the most-prized location for a new venue. Commanders minority owner Magic Johnson lobbied hard for Belichick to be the team's new head coach, sources said... However, principal owner Josh Harris, who had spoken privately with Kraft about Belichick, told confidants in early December that he respected Belichick but wasn't going to hire him. He wanted the same leadership structure he has with the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils: a strong general manager over a head coach."

Magic Johnson tried and failed to get Bill Belichick hired with Commanders

In the end, Belichick's reputation almost feels too titanic for another organization to take on. There's so much baggage there — a lot of good, a lot of bad — that even the most interested front offices and ownership groups will find reason to psych themselves out of hiring the all-time great.

Belichick's last few years with the New England Patriots were bad across the board, but the issues stemmed mostly from Belichick's personnel choices. His in-game chops are undeniable — we've seen Belichick coach circles around his opponents on the biggest stage too many times to believe otherwise. If he's willing to embrace a coach-only role below an established GM, Belichick can probably still do some good for a franchise in need.

That said, Magic Johnson is probably not the best source of advice for coaching or front office hires, and the Commanders were probably wise to take his push for Belichick with a grain of salt. To borrow an NBA anaology, Belichick fans probably feel the same way Shai Gilgeous-Alexander MVP truthers feel when they see Skip Bayless and Kendrick Perkins lobbying for SGA over Nikola Jokic. There's a case for Gilgeous-Alexander, but all the wrong people are on your side of the argument.

Belichick should probably get another shot. The dude has earned it. Obviously. That said, Washington was not keen to let Belichick place the franchise in a headlock one year into new ownership.

Predicting where 5 best UGA prospects will land in NFL Draft. Predicting where 5 best UGA prospects will land in NFL Draft. dark. Next