A Look Back: 15 Years Ago, The Jets/Patriots Feud Begins

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Then, the fun began. On Jan 31, 1997, Bill Parcells stepped down as the head coach in New England. At the time, the rumors were swirling that Bill was interested in coming to New York to ressurect the Jets, and this made Patriots owner Robert Kraft ticked off. He had the NFL review his contract, and confirm that Parcells was contractually obligated to the Patriots, and he was required to coach them, or nobody. Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the NFL agreed, blocking Parcells from coaching any other team in the league.

Kraft was angry, his anger directed mainly at Bill Parcells, and that spilled over to anger at the New York Jets.

”I’ve been through hell because of this,” Kraft said. ”I’m just supposed to hand Bill Parcells to a team in my division? I don’t think so.”

On February 6th, the situation became even more interesting. To work around the block that Parcells has in his contract against “coaching” any other team, the Jets decided to get creative. They decide to hire Bill Parcells as a “consultant” for the year 1997 while his contract runs out with New England, and put Bill Belichick in the head coach position. In 1998, Belichick would step down, and Bill Parcells would assume the head coaching position.

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Tags: 1997 AFL Alan Schechter Bill Belichick Bill Parcells Eric Mangini Green Bay Packers Head Coach Jets Head Coach New England Patriots NFL NY Jets Paul Tagliabue Rivalry Robert Kraft Super Bowl Tom Brady

  • Alex Parziale

    I have been going to games since 1991.  In 1992 my father and I finally got season tickets of our own. From 1991 through 1994 season it rained during one game.  Kotite came in and litterally a black cloud came in.  The home opener in 1996 actually was delyed during the game due to a lightening and thunder storm.  It seemed like every home game it rained.  1997 season Jets playing vs Ravens. The game is raining on and off, sometime every heavy.  Last play of regulation Testerverde throws a TD to send the game into OT for Baltimore.  The Jets march donw filed and just as John Hall kicks the game winner, the sun came out – litterally! It was the first time since 1986 the Jets had sole possesion of first place.
    Another side not Bill Bellicheck was named Jets head coach twice, yet he never coached a game at that position for them.

  • AlanSchechter

     @Alex Parziale
     Had been a long time hadn’t it Alex?  Thanks for sharing those memories about those games.
    Also very true on Belichick.  That’s one thing we can hang our hats on, we are probably to only team ever to hire a coach 2x, and have them never coach a game. 
    I’m probably going to do more posts about the rivalry to discuss the Belichick hirings, and more.