FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The morning after his season ended with a "crash landing" in the AFC Championship Game, Bill Belichick confirmed that he will be returning for a 14th season as coach of the New England Patriots. It will also be his the 39th season in the NFL.
"I'll be here," Belichick said Monday morning. "Until I'm told otherwise, I plan on being here."
Belichick, who was hired by the Patriots in 2000, became the NFL's longest-tenured current head coach earlier this month. His contract status (both duration and compensation) is one of the best-kept secrets in football.
Belichick, the NFL's third-oldest coach, will turn 61 in April. He entered the league in 1975 with the Baltimore Colts as an assistant coach.
Before concluding his final news conference of the season, Belichick poked fun at his relationship with reporters.
"You'll have to deal with me again next year," Belichick cracked. "I know that's disappointing for a lot of you."
The Patriots' season ended abruptly Sunday night when the Baltimore Ravens pulled off a 28-13 upset at Gillette Stadium, a loss Belichick reflected on Monday.
"The last game, you play a game this time of year, you're either in euphoria or it's a crash landing," he said. "So for us yesterday it was a crash landing. A year ago at this time, it was the other feeling [heading to the Super Bowl]. It's one or the other, there's no in between. And there's certainly no soft landing. The season is suddenly a season that's very much alive and with great hopes and expectations and energy, suddenly crashes and it's over.
"And that's the way it's going to be for every team but one this year," he continued. "That's the NFL. It's not going to change, that's the way it is. Unfortunately, that's where we were at last night, that's where we're at today. It stopped, it's over, we're on to next year."
Mike Rodak and Field Yates are regular contributors to ESPNBoston.com.