New York Jets ‘What If’ – Bill Belichick Never Resigned As ‘HC of the NYJ’


Regardless of what happens this Sunday at Super Bowl XLIX, Bill Belichick has already cemented his place on the Mount Rushmore of NFL head coaches. He has three championships in six title game appearances and is viewed as the shrewdest mind on the sideline, Deflate Gate and Spy Gate aside, of course.

But this never would have been possible if Belichick didn’t surprise everyone with one of the shortest tenures elsewhere that ended under a most bizarre set of circumstances.

Flash back to 1999 when Bill Parcells decided to step upstairs after three season as the New York Jets head coach, resurrecting a 1-15 team that made the AFC Championship two years later. The Tuna anointed Belichick as his successor and a press conference was planned for the following day to officially introduce him to the media. But apparently Belichick wanted to have what his buddy Parcells finally got with the Jets. (Remember the buying the groceries/cooking dinner reference when he was looking to leave the New England Patriots?)

Belichick knew that Parcells would still be calling the shots in New York and still be in his boss’s shadow. But there was an organization willing to bring him in to be the head coach and general manager and they just happened to be…the New England Patriots.

Just as the presser was begin, Belichick scribbled a note on a piece of loose leaf paper that read, “I resign as HC of the NYJ” and then went to the podium to answer the questions of the bewildered reporters present.

Once Belichick signed on the dotted line to begin his new role with the Pats, the Jets complained to the league and former commissioner Paul Tagliabue found them in favor. New England ended up “trading,” in essence, a 2000 first round draft pick for the rights to Belichick, something that owner Robert Kraft gladly did at the time and even more so now.

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Parcells eventually named Al Groh as the Jets head coach and he left for the college ranks after one season. Herman Edwards came in and while he was mildly successful and brought the team to the postseason a few times, he, too, was eventually fired and replaced by Eric Mangini before Rex Ryan was hired. And now Todd Bowles is the next in trying to finally get the Jets beyond the league championship game.

There is no way of knowing just what would have happened if Belichick stayed and waited out Parcells’s eventual departure. Would he have been given full control once that occurred? We do know one thing for sure and that is Belichick would have had a lot of influence in the NFL Draft, regardless if there was a GM in place or not. And he has always been lauded for having a good eye to find players late in every round, since his teams have always been of the winning variety and not picking high.

The likelihood is that Belichick would not have stayed with the Jets all of this time as he has done in New England. But considering that the Jets have been successful with coaches much lower on the chain than Belichick, even one Super Bowl win would have been possible…and welcomed.

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