A day after defeating the Jets in dramatic fashion in a 30-27 Patriots win, Bill Belichick added insult to injury by calling his decision to resign from New York 20 years ago "one of the great moments of my career" on his weekly appearance with Boston radio station WEEI 93.7 on Tuesday.
As the hosts wrapped up asking Belichick about the Patriots offense and Cam Newton's progress in New England, his appearance culminated with a discussion around a segment of ESPN's MNF broadcast that showed the infamous half-hour press conference announcing his resignation one day after getting the job.
"(It was) if not the most defining, but one of the great moments of my career," Belichick said to WEEI. "That combined with you know Robert giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn't ask for anything more."
The story behind Belichick's resignation from New York is a fascinating one. After following his mentor in Bill Parcells from New England to the Jets as an assistant, it was in Belichick's contract that if Parcells was to leave then he would become the next head coach. After Parcells resigned following the 1999 season, Belichick was made head coach.
Then, on January 4, 2000, Belichick turned his introductory press conference into a resignation announcement after writing in simple wording on a piece of looseleaf paper that he was resigning "as HC of the NYJ." It took a couple of late-round swaps and a 2000 first-round draft pick for Patriots' owner Robert Draft to pry Belichick away from the Jets.
"That wasn't a good situation for me. I didn't want to be a part of it," Belichick said. "I wasn't, but the other half of that was Robert giving me a chance to come here, trading quite a bit for me to come here that was a big trade and so I'm very thankful it worked out. I appreciate all the support from Robert, the Kraft family...I just wasn't going to stay there in that situation. It worked out."
Belichick has stated that the agreement to make him coach if Parcells left was under former Jets owner Leon Hess, who died after the 1999 season. Unclear whether current owner Woody Johnson or cable network billionaire Charles Dolan would take over, Belichick didn't like where the team was headed.
"That whole ownership configuration at that time was a major factor in my decision," Belichick said in ESPN's 30 for 30 "The Two Bills."
Of course, Belichick has gone on to coach a Hall-of-Fame career in New England with six Super Bowl titles to his name. The Jets, on the other hand, have made six postseason appearances over that time, with the latest coming in 2010.
Though Jets fans can thank Belichick for beating their team Monday night to give them a better chance at selecting Trevor Lawrence in next year's draft tank-a-thon, they'll never forget the chance they had to have Belichick at the helm.