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Will Tom Brady and Bill Belichick retire after the Super Bowl?

It’d be shocking if either Tom Brady or Bill Belichick is thinking retirement after the Super Bowl.

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Tom Brady is 40. Bill Belichick is 65. Retirement isn’t far on the horizon for the two pillars of the New England Patriots dynasty, but it would be surprising if Super Bowl 52 were the last game for either. Still, that rumor is making the rounds this week.

On Sunday morning, ESPN’s Dianna Russini tweeted that “both could be hanging it up” after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles:

The Patriots lost to the Eagles, but they’ve still won five Super Bowl rings with the duo of Brady and Belichick. The Patriots own just about every major Super Bowl record — including most wins for a player and most wins for a coach.

Some might ask the question what the two have left to accomplish, but they’re both competitors who thrive on winning. And neither one seems inclined to leave that behind based on recent comments this season.

Both have insisted they’re not ready to retire

The most surprising part of news that either Brady or Belichick decided to walk away would be that it flies in the face of everything they’ve told the media.

Brady’s tone didn’t change, even after Sunday night’s 41-33 loss to the Eagles.

When there were rumors that the New York Giants could be the next team coached by Belichick, he told reporters last month that he “absolutely” intends to coach the Patriots in 2018. If he’s planning a surprise exit, it’d go against his mantra of focusing on nothing but his upcoming opponent.

“I’m not thinking about anything other than doing my best on Sunday against the Eagles,” Belichick said earlier this week when asked about the possibility of retirement, via Newsday. “That’s all I’m thinking about.”

Brady has also said he plans to play for a while. His current contract with the Patriots runs through the 2019 season.

Last year, Patriots owner Robert Kraft told reporters that the quarterback intends to play until he’s 45. That’d be an unprecedented feat for NFL quarterbacks, but so was winning MVP at age 40.

“Why does everyone want me to retire so bad?” Brady asked earlier this week. “I don’t get it. I’m having fun, the team’s doing good, you know? I know I’m a bit older than most of the other guys, but I’m really enjoying it. I obviously enjoy the experience of playing in this game. It’s been a dream come true many times over.

“I’m not thinking about retirement, I’m thinking about the Super Bowl and trying to win the most important game of the year and it’s going to take a lot to do it.”

Right before the Super Bowl, Brady once again said that he won’t be retiring, and will play in 2018.

“Yeah, you’re gonna see me playing football next year,” he said via ProFootballTalk. “I don’t envision not playing. You’re at the end of the race but you’ve got your biggest mountain to climb right at the end.

“Hopefully all the lessons we’ve learned have allowed us to be at our very best for this moment and that’s what it’s going to take and that’s what we’re prepared for and that’s what I go out and expect our team to do.”

And if Belichick had any inkling that Brady was getting ready to hang up his cleats, trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the San Francisco 49ers in October was a huge mistake.

In January, there was an ESPN report of an ongoing feud behind the scenes in New England with tension between Belichick, Brady and Kraft. It didn’t stop the Patriots from getting back to the Super Bowl again and didn’t seem to create any kind of significant, public-facing fracture.

According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, there is expected to be a meeting between Brady, Belichick and Kraft to hash out some of the lingering issues that were raised in that ESPN report. So long as it doesn’t hit any snags, everyone is expected back.

Long story short: It’d be shocking if Brady and Belichick didn’t return to the Patriots in 2018.