He still doesn’t get it.
On Jan. 5, 2000, Bill Belichick took to the podium for what was supposed to be his introductory press conference as head coach of the Jets. Instead of talking about his vision for the team, speaking highly and hypothetically of striving for AFC East titles and Super Bowls, Belichick spent the next 30 minutes talking about his decision to resign. Weeks later, he would join the Patriots.
History tells us how that move turned out.
His decision forever altered two franchises as New England has gone on to three Super Bowl wins with Belichick on the sidelines and the Jets, well, they still have just one Super Bowl appearance from four decades ago. This past Friday, Belichick was asked by the Boston media about his resignation press conference in New York over 11 years ago. After some typical hemming and hawing, he gave a true indication as to his emotions, saying “it’s all water under the bridge.”
Then, Belichick simply and succinctly gave some clues into his mindset about leaving the Jets directionless and helpless to pursue his own ambitions.
“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. Certainly a lot of things could have been handled differently or whatever, but anyway. It doesn’t matter now.”
And there, in the final four words of his statement, is the true Bill Belichick. In a moment where he could have shown remorse, could have empathized with a Jets franchise that had employed him the three previous seasons as an assistant coach, Belichick instead showed that it really is all about him.
Instead of showing a shred of integrity it was Belichick, the one who pulled the rug from under the Jets when he resigned with no notice, somehow determining that his flap is now inconsequential.
It was like he was the party who was wronged and he was trying to be gracious. It isn’t the place of Belichick to determine that Jets fans and everyone else should move on from the backstabbing he pulled on the organization.
And he wonders why he is so unlikable.
“It doesn’t matter now.”
Perhaps he is right though. Perhaps it doesn’t matter now, but not in the way Belichick is trying to spin it. It doesn’t matter because the Jets have finally made it so.
The Jets are now 11 years removed from that press conference and the shock that the man they thought could lead them to the Super Bowl was suddenly packing his bags. It took the hiring of Rex Ryan two years ago to change the direction of the team, finally getting the Jets on level playing field with the Patriots.
It doesn’t matter now that Belichick spurned the team in the worst possible way because the Jets are every bit the equals of New England.
Follow Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.