Bill Belichick’s brief tenure as New York Jets head football coach will live in NFL lore as a defining shift of two franchises.
The Jets crashed and burned and are still struggling to sort through the wreckage and offer more than a brief blip of competent football since that moment in 2000. The New England Patriots, on the flip side, have enjoyed 20 years of the greatest dynasty in the modern NFL.
“Well, not only one of the most defining, but you know, one of the great moments of my career,” Belichick noted when asked of his decision Tuesday on WEEI. “That combined with Robert [Kraft] giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn’t have asked for anything more. That wasn’t a good situation for me and I didn’t want to be part of it, so I wasn’t. The other half of that was Robert giving me the opportunity to come here and trading, he gave up quite a bit to get me to come here, and that was a big trade.”
We’re scuffling down the halls of well-worn history, but a brief refresher: Belichick was named head coach after Bill Parcells stepped down from the position. Belichick, preferring to join Robert Kraft in New England instead of new Jets owner Woody Johnson, wrote on a small slip of paper: “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” It was one of the most memorable press conferences in NFL history.
After a legal spat, Kraft agreed to trade a 2000 first-round pick and 2001 fourth- and seventh- rounders for Belichick, a 2001 fifth-round and 2002 seventh-round selection.
“I am very thankful that it worked out,” Belichick said. “I appreciate all the support from Robert, the Kraft family, the Patriots organization and all the New England fans and I’ll keep trying to do my best for this team and this organization — give them the very best that can and I very thankful for the opportunity to come here. I just wasn’t going to stay there in that situation.”
Belichick has won six Super Bowls as the Patriots’ head coach. The Jets have won one AFC East title and have six playoff appearances since that time.
For as gruff as Belichick likes to play with the media when it comes to conversing on current games or strategies, he’s one of the biggest NFL history buffs on the planet and loves to discuss major moments or the evolution of the sport. He’s well aware of how his decision will be remembered. And coming off a Monday night victory against the Jets, he’ll take any chance to remind New York as well.
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