Jan. 4 always will be a momentous day in New England Patriots history.
No, not because of the heavy blizzard the team trudged through Thursday to practice despite harsh conditions. We’re going back 18 years to Jan. 4, 2000, the day Bill Belichick made a decision that incensed New York Jets fans and paved the way for a Patriots dynasty.
Just 24 hours earlier, on Jan. 3, 2000, Belichick accepted the role of Jets head coach after Bill Parcells stepped down from the position. Belichick had been Parcells’ right-hand man in New York, serving as his assistant head coach and defensive coordinator from 1997 to 1999, and when Parcells gave up his post after the 1999 season, he planned to hand the reins to his pupil.
Belichick, of course, had other plans. He came armed to his introductory press conference on Jan. 4 with a single sheet of paper that contained just seven words: “I resign as HC of the NYJ.”
He then shocked Jets by doing just that, ending his one-day tenure as Jets head coach in under 10 seconds.
Less than a month later, on Jan. 27, 2000, Belichick accepted a job as head coach of the Patriots, New York’s bitter AFC East rival. Fast forward to 2018, where the coaching legend has guided New England to five Super Bowl titles and is eyeing a sixth as the team enters this season’s playoffs as the AFC’s No. 1 overall seed.
Good choice, Bill. (Sorry, Jets fans.)
Relive the bizarre events through the eyes of Jets fans and former players in the video below — and mark your calendars for Feb. 1, when ESPN will air a “30 for 30” documentary on Belichick and Parcells’ tumultuous history.
Thumbnail photo via YouTube/2 Point Lead