Bill Belichick famously quit as head coach of the New York Jets back in 2000 before ever coaching a game. He recently called that one of the “great moments” of his career.
Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the Jets and was under the tutelage of his mentor Bill Parcells from 1997-99. He was the shoe in to replace Parcells when he resigned after the 1999 season.
Belichick accepted the position in January of 2000. A day later, Belichick took the podium at Jets headquarters for what was supposed to be his introductory news conference.
However, much to everyone’s surprise, Belichick instead announced his resignation.
Bill Belichick ‘Thankful It All Worked Out’
The New England Patriots didn’t waste any time to pounce on hiring Belichick as their coach. New England sent a first-round pick to the Jets to hire Belichick. The fortunes of both franchises, but New England specifically, would change forever.
“Well, not only one of the most defining, but you know, one of the great moments of my career,” Belichick said about 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.”
Belichick has since been enshrined on the Mount Rushmore of American sports coaches. New England’s head coach has led the Patriots to nine Super Bowls and won six of them. Further, he won two Super Bowls as a coordinator with the New York Giants.
“I am very thankful that it worked out,” Belichick noted. “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.”
The Jets have won one AFC East title and have had six playoff appearances since that time.