Today in Patriots History
Patriots Hire Bill Belichick
Patriots Hire Bill Belichick
January 27, 2000:
Patriots name Bill Belichick their 14th head coach in franchise history.
New England traded three draft picks, including a 2000 first-rounder, for two Jet draft picks and the right to hire Belichick as the team's head coach.
There is a very well detailed history of how the trade occurred below, including conjecture at that time that Oakland was the best fit for Belichick, to assessment of what the Jets received in return:
In the meantime, both teams made moves. The Jets promoted linebackers coach Al Groh to the head-coaching gig. The Patriots, unsure if they could hire their desired candidate, expressed interest in the likes of Mike Martz, Tom Moore, and Gary Kubiak before interviewing Raiders defensive coordinator Willie Shaw, Bears offensive coordinator Gary Crowton, and Jaguars defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Giving up a first round draft pick and several other selections to the Jets for the rights to Bill Belichick remains one of best trades in NFL history.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft made a major decision two decades ago on behalf of the franchise that was initially met with eyeball rolls and skepticism on many fronts.
When Kraft sent a first-round pick to the Jets for the right to hire Bill Belichick, the prevailing view was that he would ultimately regret the move.
Funny how that turned out.
Six Super Bowl championships, nine conference crowns and 16 division titles later, Kraft is smiling. The trade for Belichick is one of the moves that’s defined his ownership, and helped build a dynasty. In fact, it’s one of the greatest trades in NFL history.
It was 20 years ago today that the Patriots officially hired Bill Belichick, and the Patriots have dominated ever since.
The numbers are staggering:
* - The above article was written two years ago, so some of those stats are a bit off now.
- 6 Super Bowl titles (two more than any other HC)
- 9 Conference titles (three more than any other HC)
- 17 Division titles
- Career record – 311-148 (.678)
- Regular season – 280-136 (.673)
- Postseason – 31-12 (.721)
- Patriots record – 274-103 (.727)
The coach's incredible run with New England was not foreseen by a Boston market that greeted him with a mix of lukewarm expectations and fan apathy.
On Page 85, a story that gauged fan reaction to the hire was modest. Some were expecting a bigger name like Marty Schottenheimer, or a package deal of Dom Capers as coach and Tom Donahoe as general manager. "I think the combination of Capers and Donahoe was more promising," one fan was quoted as saying.
In a story headlined It's all so crazy, it just might work, Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote, "Belichick's behavior in recent weeks indicates he might be enough of a wacko to be an effective head coach."
While the courtship of Belichick had been an ongoing thing, it was set up by a court case that was settled the previous day.
January 26, 2000:
Bill Belichick drops antitrust lawsuit he filed against National Football League and New York Jets, one day after judge in case refuses to grant temporary restraining order that would have allowed Belichick to negotiate with other teams for new job (M)
Bill Belichick dropped the antitrust lawsuit he had filed against the National Football League and the Jets yesterday, one day after the judge in the case refused to grant a temporary restraining order that would have allowed Belichick to negotiate with other teams for a new job.
Belichick filed the lawsuit on Monday, hoping that the judge would grant him the freedom that N.F.L. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue did not when he ruled last Friday that the Jets still own Belichick's rights.
''The main purpose of the case from Bill's perspective was to seek emergency relief so he had the opportunity to coach now,'' Jeffrey Kessler, Belichick's lawyer, said. ''Since it became apparent the court wasn't going to give us that relief, we had to decide what other options we could pursue. That option didn't work out.''
. . . . .
'''His goal is not to not be a coach and get damages,'' Kessler said. ''He wants to be a coach. If necessary, if all else fails, then he will pursue his claim for damages. Right now, what he wants to do is be permitted to work again. He wants it very clear that what he is seeking was to become free. He's trying to avoid the damage. If it turns out he can't, we'll consider other alternatives.''
The Jets had no comment on yesterday's development.
Belichick's immediate future remains murky. A team that wants his services may have them, but it will have to pay compensation to the Jets. The New England Patriots, who asked for permission to speak to Belichick on Jan. 3, have had talks with the Jets to try to reach a deal, but so far those talks have produced no resolution.
Meanwhile, the Patriots have also had talks with candidates who would fill the general manager and head-coaching posts separately, the two jobs that Belichick would presumably fill by himself if he had the freedom to make a deal with New England. Yesterday, the Patriots met with Dom Capers, the defensive coordinator of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Patriots are one of just two N.F.L. teams that now need a head coach.
The courts case was a result of the famous resignation-on-a-napkin that occurred about three weeks prior, on January 4:
January 4, 2000:
Bill Belichick stayed as Jets head coach for one full day in 2000 before resigning.
For a single day, Bill Belichick found himself in a very different AFC East vantage point than the one history will remember him for. He stood at the helm of […]