Biggest 180s: Bill Belichick turns his back on Jets, jumps to Patriots

Mike Cratty
March 18, 2019 - 4:04 pm

Before Bill Belichick won six Super Bowls with the Patriots, he appeared to be in line to become head coach of the rival New York Jets.

Belichick was actually named head coach of the Jets for the first time in 1997 while the Jets were working to finalize Bill Parcells' move from New England to New York. A week later, Parcells' deal was finalized and Belichick was moved to an assistant head coach/defensive coordinator role, where he remained for three seasons under his longtime mentor.

Part of Belichick's deal was that he would succeed Parcells when Parcells retired, which he did after the 1999 season. But on the day Belichick was supposed to be introduced as the team's head coach, he instead wrote "I resign as HC of the NYJ" on a napkin and spent more than half an hour explaining why he would not be taking the job after all.

Belichick said he was uncomfortable with the situation in New York and referenced the situation he had gone through two years earlier when he had briefly been interim head coach. The team was going through an ownership change following the death of Leon Hess, and many believed that factored into Belichick's uncomfortability.

Soon after the crazy turn of events, Belichick was hired by Robert Kraft to become head coach of the Patriots. The Jets claimed Belichick was still under contract with them, and the situation was eventually resolved with the Patriots having to give the Jets a first-round pick in the 2000 draft.

It's safe to say Belichick has been well worth the pick, and that the whole situation proved to be a big 180 for both franchises. While Belichick and the Patriots have gone on to become the greatest dynasty in NFL history, the Jets are now on their sixth head coach since 2000 and have had eight losing seasons in that time.


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