New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is no stranger to controversy. Belichick’s most controversial moment was probably the 2007 incident where he was accused of having a Patriots staff member video tape opposing coaches’ signals. But Belichick gets questioned over issues both large and small, like his benching of star quarterback Tom Brady during a recent loss, as reported in The Inquisitr. As Belichick’s 4-2 Patriots prepare to take the field against Rex Ryan’s 1-5 New York Jets, Belichick is once again in the spotlight, thanks to remarks in a new book by former coach Bill Parcells.
According to Newsday, Parcells describes what started his feud with Belichick in his new book, Parcells: A Football Life, due to be released on October 28.
“He [Belichick] made a deal and then tried to get out of it. A deal’s a deal. You want out? You’re going to pay. Simple.”
The deal Parcells is talking about is that Belichick was supposed to take over as the Jets head coach when Parcells stepped down. But, instead of taking the reins in New York, Belichick bolted to become the coach of the Patriots, where he has put together an impressive record during his tenure.
In an excerpt published in Sports Illustrated, Parcells and co-author Nunyo Demasio explain how the situation started.
“On the afternoon of Monday, Jan. 3, 2000, Bill Parcells announced his resignation from the Jets to the public, becoming the first head coach in franchise history to step down with a winning record: 30–20. He informed reporters that his defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick (whose contract from three years earlier ensured that he would take over whenever Parcells decided to leave), was empowered to make all football decisions, while Parcells himself would stay on as a confidant and consultant.”
But the Patriots were interested in Belichick, and Belichick was interested in the Patriots.
“A couple of hours later, at roughly 6 p.m., Parcells was in the coaches’ locker room when Belichick walked in and asked Big Bill to revisit New England’s interview request. Startled by the query, Parcells reminded Belichick of his apparent eagerness only a day earlier to finally take over. Belichick countered that uncertainty about the Jets’ changing ownership — the estate of longtime owner Leon Hess, who had died the previous spring, was weighing competing bids from Johnson & Johnson heir Woody Johnson and Cablevision founder Charles Dolan — was giving him second thoughts. The remarks angered Parcells, who warned Belichick that the club wouldn’t allow him to interview with the Patriots or any other team.”
The Jets had scheduled a press conference the next day to introduce Belichick as the new head coach. But, shortly before the press conference was to begin, Belichick stopped by Parcells’ office and told him that he intended to resign as the Jets head coach. Parcells told Belichick that the Jets would not allow him to interview with another team, which was their right since Belichick was still under contract. A short time later, Belichick handed Jets president Steve Gutman a piece of notebook paper that began with the following statement.
“Due to the various uncertainties surrounding my position as it relates to the team’s new ownership, I have decided to resign as the HC of the NYJ.”
Belichick had filed a grievance against the Jets, and on January 13, 2000, a hearing was held. On January 21, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue ruled in favor of the Jets. But Belichick wasn’t finished: he filed an anti-trust lawsuit against the Jets and the league. On January 25, a federal judge refused to grant Belichick’s request for a restraining order, and Belichick dropped his lawsuit. Realizing that they didn’t want to have Belichick coaching the Jets when he really didn’t want to be there, Parcells reached out to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, and offered to let Belichick out of his contract in exchange for draft picks. After some wrangling about specifics, the deal was done, and Belichick was free to join the Patriots. Parcells sums up the outcome in his book.
“At the end of the day, he didn’t want to be the Jets’ head coach. Then he expected me as the general manager to just say, ‘OK, I’ll get somebody else.’ Well, eventually I did that. But I got compensation. I didn’t begrudge Bill getting another job somewhere else. In fact, I’m probably the one that got it for him.”
Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick are on speaking terms again, after about six years of silence. Did Belichick stab his mentor in the back, or was this just business as usual for the NFL?
[Photo via Linda Cataffo/New York Daily News]