FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — It was one of the more bizarre resignations in NFL history, and perhaps even in sports. On Jan. 5, 2000, Bill Belichick resigned as head coach of the New York Jets less than 24 hours after accepting the position. The media was gathered for what was supposed to be his introduction to the position, but instead was Belichick's resignation from the job.
Belichick was Bill Parcells' heir apparent, but with an ownership change and some franchise instability, Belichick eventually found Robert Kraft's overtures from Foxboro to be more appealing.
As he was ready to take the podium for what everyone thought would be a positive announcement, Belichick scribbled on a sheet of paper "I resign as HC of the NYJ," a moment in time that would make any English teacher want to "SMH." He took to the podium and talked about why he chose to not take the job, saying he wasn't feeling any support or sense of direction from the Jets.
From that resignation letter, Belichick would then take his talents to New England, where he'd win multiple AFC East titles and three Super Bowls with the Patriots. The Jets have reached the playoffs just six times since Belichick's infamous scribbling and just once have topped the division.
Now with the Patriots ready to travel to MetLife Stadium for a Sunday night game, and with both teams 5-3, Belichick again faced questions on Friday morning about that day in Long Island that forever changed the Patriots' franchise.
Belichick was asked by Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald, "Is that the strangest press conference you've ever done?" and then, as if building in an excuse, the phrase "You were a lot younger" was tagged on.
Belichick glared. "What's that supposed to mean?" Belichick fired back.
The response didn't clarify too much, with Rappaport replying "I am just saying you were younger, it was a long time ago."
"I'm sure you were younger in '99 too," Belichick said. "Any other breaking stories we have going here?"
Belichick would go on to call the situation "water under the bridge," perhaps not fitting since he was the one who walked out on the Jets to go to their biggest divisional rival.
"At that point in time, that situation, I did what I felt like I needed to do and I don't have any regrets about that," Belichick said. "Certainly a lot of things could have been handled differently or whatever but anyway. It doesn't matter now."
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer
- Bill Belichick