As the New England Patriots took on the New York Jets Monday night, the ESPN “Monday Night Football” telecast discussed Bill Belichick’s resignation from “gang green” 20 years earlier in January 2000.
For backstory, at the time, Belichick was expected to take over as Jets head coach from Bill Parcell’s, rising from defensive coordinator.
However, Belichick’s confidence in the Jets franchise began to deteriorate when then-owner Leon Hess passed away before the 1999 season.
With the situation at owner unknown heading into the new millennium, Belichick began to express his doubts towards the new candidates in Woody Johnson and Charles Dolan.
“Essentially the problem I had with the whole arrangement eventually was when all of this transpired there was no owner,” Belichick said in ESPN’s “The Two Bills.” “Mr. Hess passed away before the ’99 season. There were two potential owners and that was [Woody] Johnson and [Charles] Dolan. I hadn’t spoken with either one, but I had issues with both, and it wasn’t Mr. Hess anymore, which was the original agreement or the original context we talked about. That whole ownership configuration at that point in time was a major factor in my decision much more than a personal relationship.”
So not even 24 hours after accepting the Jets job, Belichick went before the New York media and announced his stunning resignation by way of a napkin that simply read “I resign as HC of the NYJ”.
Robert Kraft and the Patriots would later acquire Belichick in a trade involving a first round draft pick as compensation.
Speaking with WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” on Tuesday, Belichick was asked to comment on the ESPN conversation and his answer couldn’t have been more genuine.
“One of the, not only most defining, but one of the great moments of my career,” Belichick said. “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.
“But the other half of that was Robert giving me the opportunity to come here and trading — I mean, he gave up quite a bit for the to come here. That was a big trade. So I’m very thankful that it worked out. I appreciate all the support from Robert, the Kraft Family, the Patriots organization and all the New England fans. I’ll keep trying to do my best for this team and this organization. Give them the very best that I can. But I’m very thankful for the opportunity to come here and I just wasn’t going to stay there in that situation. So it worked out.”
Since that fateful day that changed the course of two franchises, Belichick is coaching his 20th season in New England while the Jets have had six of their own come and go in that span.
After falling to 0-9 in a loss to Belichick on Monday, the Jets may be well on their way to a seventh.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Bill Belichick Robert Kraft