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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