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Parcells, Kraft regret their bad break-up


As he prepares for one of the greatest honors he’ll receive, Bill Parcells can’t help but look back with regret at a moment which cast a section of his career in a negative light.

Parcells told Jim Corbett of USA Today that he wished he’d have handled things differently with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, perhaps avoiding the ugly divorce after the 1996 season.

I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently, . . . ” Parcells said. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.

“I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

For all the games and championships won, there are those who remember Parcells as a jumper, a man with loyalty only to himself. The fact he was negotiating with the Jets for a deal that would send him to a division rival before coaching the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI is the first piece of evidence his critics use to establish that.

But Kraft said the two buried the hatchet about 10 years ago, acknowledging he had a role in the split as well.

“Look, I was a new owner,” Kraft said. “I had a lot of debt. I had stardust in my eyes. I had a Hall of Fame coach. I was green and new. And I don’t think Bill had ever dealt with someone like myself. He had a contract that said he’d coach year to year. And that didn’t make me feel secure. . . .

“I think we would have been a great team together at a different time, me understanding what I understand now, this being my 20th season as an owner, and him being seasoned. I wish it could have worked out differently.”

The Patriots got back on their feet, winning three Super Bowls under Parcells disciple Bill Belichick. And Parcells is about to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But the thoughts of what might have been still run strong, as that chapter changed the course franchises beyond Boston.

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44 Responses to “Parcells, Kraft regret their bad break-up”
  1. touchdownroddywhite says: Jun 24, 2013 8:05 AM

    Parcells wouldn’t have won as many SB’s as BB did.

    Go ahead and give me a thumbs down, but how many SB’s did Parcells win after the split?

  2. logicailvoicesays says: Jun 24, 2013 8:16 AM

    If they’d taken a page from the greatest coaches and owners in history (Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, Mike Shanahan, George Allen, Jack Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder), they’d have been much more successful.

  3. maddog111 says: Jun 24, 2013 8:18 AM

    Sounds to me like Parcells is trying to say “I’d have won all those championships too, just like BB did”.

  4. eb3110 says: Jun 24, 2013 8:27 AM

    I’m perfectly happy how everything turned out.


    Every Patriots fan alive

  5. PeterKingLovesCoqAVin says: Jun 24, 2013 8:28 AM

    This is exactly the type of loose-end resolution Parcells would engage in with a month to go before his induction. You can bet he is acutely aware of public perception, and wants to quash any side-talk of selfishness now so we’re all free to celebrate him in August.

  6. rcbn says: Jun 24, 2013 8:28 AM

    You reap what you sow! We all make mistakes in our careers. Turned out ok for both of them.

  7. skolvikesskol says: Jun 24, 2013 8:31 AM

    Great story.

  8. fruitcovejag says: Jun 24, 2013 8:44 AM

    Obviously the Patriots were better off without him.

  9. mookieinhiding says: Jun 24, 2013 8:45 AM

    Screw Bill Parcells.

    He not only destroyed the Patriots SuperBowl run with talk during the week leading up to the SB about him leaving the team…he took Curtis Martin.

    Parcells has no claim on the Dynasty.

  10. skoobyfl says: Jun 24, 2013 8:47 AM

    This is pig vomit at it’s worst. BP represents the win at all costs class that did everything it could to circumvent the system.

  11. realfootballfan says: Jun 24, 2013 8:56 AM

    Who knows, doubt if Bledsoe would have ever been able to win a Super Bowl, but Bellichick hasn’t won one since those core players that Parcells brought in left.Also, I thought Kraft’s wife not approving of Parcells relationship (living with a woman he wasn’t married to) had something to do with the animosity, and it came to a head when Kraft pulled rank on the Terry Glenn pick that previous spring?

  12. harrisonhits2 says: Jun 24, 2013 8:56 AM

    Parcells was an a-hole who made the entire week before the Super Bowl about his leaving the team instead of about the team trying to win the Super Bowl.

    I will always blame him for the loss and have loathed him for many years.

  13. shmendal says: Jun 24, 2013 9:03 AM

    Well, at least one side of that relationship’s conclusion has regrets, no guilty conscience on leaving Miami with the team being a crap hole?

  14. fryeways says: Jun 24, 2013 9:09 AM

    Lifelong Patriots fan and have always loved the Tuna. He was our best coach before Belichick, and gave us all hope for our team that was terrible for decades. Didn’t end well, but business rarely does.

  15. evilfrasiercrane says: Jun 24, 2013 9:23 AM

    Lets see, since they departed company Belichick has won 3 Super Bowls and Parcells has won squat. Point-Game-Match Belichick.

  16. bullcharger says: Jun 24, 2013 9:37 AM

    The Tuna deciding to leave when he did certainly didn’t help the Patriots in the Super Bowl. That was a winnable game. That said, there was a great chance they still would have lost that game and there’s no evidence out there that the Tuna could have got them back to the Super Bowl. I’m not so sure if Brady would have been picked with him there and Brady has really been the key all these years. Look what happened to Parcells in NY and Dallas? Not so great and he was working with pretty good teams.

  17. deadeye says: Jun 24, 2013 9:44 AM

    The mental image of those two kissing and making up is flat out horrifying.

  18. jimmyt says: Jun 24, 2013 9:45 AM

    Dynasty? There was no “Dynasty”. Cheating doesn’t count. Remember good sportsmanship?

  19. wryly1 says: Jun 24, 2013 9:56 AM

    Kraft and Belichick wouldn’t have won without Brady falling in their lap. Everything else is noise.

  20. ColtsWinColtsWin!! says: Jun 24, 2013 9:58 AM

    The Patriots are a terrible franchise, Steve Grogan was the best quarterback they ever had. Robert Kraft should just go back to making macaroni and cheese.

  21. skippynj says: Jun 24, 2013 10:01 AM

    But I’ll bet Parcells was decent enough to return HIS ring after the break-up!

  22. justintuckrule says: Jun 24, 2013 10:04 AM

    Parcels totally changed the losing culture in ne. Save for one decent fluky year, the stunk out loud since their inception. Regardless of his negotiating with the jets, ne fans should be eternally grateful for what he did and turning over the keys to belichick

  23. draftrobot says: Jun 24, 2013 10:10 AM

    Considering how long it took Parcells to pull washed up and broken Drew Bledsoe in Dallas in 2006, how long would he have stuck with not washed up and broken Drew Bledsoe in 2000?

  24. jayrandle says: Jun 24, 2013 10:16 AM

    As a Dolphin fan…I am waiting on the article that is titled…
    ‘Parcells, regret the decisions he made as the Executive Vice President of the Miami Dolphins.”

    Which includes the influence he had with the bad drafting including some bust, free agent signings, running Jason Taylor out of town, bringing in Sparano as Head Coach, and an up and down decision making GM in Jeff Ireland.

  25. sanitytrek says: Jun 24, 2013 10:23 AM

    Patriots would have been a respected franchise with Parcells. I would think that would be better than cheating and stealing championships from honest competitors.

    I hear Kraft saying he wishes he would have stuck with a man of integrity and honesty rather than go with a cheater.

  26. weepingjebus says: Jun 24, 2013 10:29 AM

    Belichick carried Parcells. The real question was what would have happened if Belichick stayed with the Giants. It got a little dusty in that Football Life episode where he got to tour the old Giants stadium before they tore it down.

  27. deadunicorn says: Jun 24, 2013 10:31 AM

    What made BB such a better coach than Parcells?…..O yeah, I remember now

  28. Patriot42 says: Jun 24, 2013 11:53 AM

    Bill “The grass is always greener over yonder” Parcells will always be remembered as the guy that moved alot.

  29. monkeesfan says: Jun 24, 2013 12:17 PM

    The Patriots had posted 18 winning seasons before Parcells arrived. He went to a situation he knew was good – and he did the same thing with the Jets, the Cowboys, and the Dolphins. Parcells did not change the Patriots culture – Bob Kraft and Drew Bledsoe did that. Parcells had no idea how to handle that the game had changed – more accurately, had passed him by; the days of run the ball and play defense were long gone by the 1990s yet Parcells had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern game.

    Parcells should NOT have been Patriots coach.

    “I hear Kraft wished he’d stuck with a man of integrity instead of go with a cheater.” The Truth About Spygate: Punishing Success And Promoting Parity – the fact is there was no cheating. Why that fiction keeps getting pushed is baffling.

  30. 2ruefan says: Jun 24, 2013 12:54 PM

    I know you just love to post these outrageous comments so people can flame you. You crack me up.
    But at least at times you are just stating your own outrageous fan opinion.
    But, you really HAVE to list for me the great “successes” and championships that have occurred under Dan Snyder…..

    Is that Crickets I’m hearing…..???

  31. thefox61 says: Jun 24, 2013 1:02 PM

    Aahhhhhh… how sweet… XOXOXO
    Geez, get a room

  32. sfsugator says: Jun 24, 2013 1:13 PM

    No way he wins because as many Super Bowls as hoodie, parcells doesn’t peep hole Super Bowl practices.

  33. SAV says: Jun 24, 2013 1:32 PM

    The Patriots are becoming the Jets. Way too much publicity for a mediocre team and overrated franchise.


  34. bcgreg says: Jun 24, 2013 1:47 PM

    Still shake my head over SB 31. Pats had that game after the Martin TD cut it to 6. Then, Howard returned the kickoff with the benefit of a hold. Then, inexplicably, Parcells changed the blocking scheme and thought Max Lane could handle Reggie White one on one. The Pats erased White all game with double teams up till that point. And, of course, Bledsoe throwing INTs all 2nd half didn’t help. But, the Pats had ALL of the momentum after that Martin TD. They were killing GB defensively. Seriously, watch the game. NE had ALL the momentum. But, alas, Howard’s return changed all that. It was a great game.

  35. lanman11 says: Jun 24, 2013 1:49 PM

    Parcells left the Patriots because he did not have sole ultimate authority over player selection. Long time coach and scout Bobby Grier was the VP of Player Personnel when Kraft sided with Grier in the selection of Terry Glenn, which helped lead to the split between Parcells and Kraft. Parcells moved on to the Jets. For the next three years Pete Carroll coached the team and Grier made the picks. Kevin Faulk was the only keeper out of those three drafts. Ultimately BB took over and fired Grier as part of his front office make over and brought in Pioli. Many of the successful picks of the Parcell’s era picks like Bledsoe, Troy Brown, Teddy Bruschi, Lawyer Malloy, Ty Law, Ted Johnson and Willie McGinest, etc were likely a combination of Parcells and Grier’s input, but judging by the draft results from 96-99 I’d say they missed Parcell’s input. Belichick and Pioli gutted the roster in 2000-2001 bringing in something like 36 low budget veteran free agents like Bobby Hamilton, Otis Smith, Mike Compton, Anthony Pleasant, Mike Vrabel, Larry Izzo, Terrell Buckley, Bryan Cox, Roman Phifer, David Patton and Antowain Smith, all contributors. It was a combination of those seasoned vets from Parcells days, the free agents from BB and Pioli, and the BB/Pioli Draft picks of Tom Brady, Matt Light, Richard Seymour, David Givens, Deon Branch, Daniel Graham, Dan Koppen, Ty Warren, Asante Samuel and Vince Wilfork that made the Super Bowl’s happen.

    So, I’d say they share some credit but the lions share has to go to the guy running the organization, coaching, and making the decisions over the years they have been winning and that would be BB. However you can’t deny that a very special group of players came out of Parcell’s years in New England.

  36. vaphinfan says: Jun 24, 2013 2:03 PM

    If Parcells would of stayed he would of won more super bowls than BB. Parcells put the team together and BB won with Parcells guys. BB would of never won a super bowl if not for Parcells putting the team together for him.

  37. 2ruefan says: Jun 24, 2013 2:18 PM

    Parcells is over-rated to a slight degree IMHO. He was GREAT at instilling a winning culture quickly, developing fundamental attitudes, turning clubs around.

    But he failed in those later years more than he succeeded in terms of getting to playoffs and winning anything.

  38. fanofevilempire says: Jun 24, 2013 2:56 PM

    Parcells obviously knows how to coach turning around 4 franchises. The Pats won with a lot of
    the players Parcells drafted. The Super Bowls
    the Pats won are ALL tainted, after being caught cheating they lost twice to Parcells former team.
    New England is a disgrace as they stand today,
    Kraft should shoot himself for this behavior.

    Jim Nance must have wet his pants about Hernandez.

  39. gpete1962 says: Jun 24, 2013 3:27 PM

    Tuna is just a pompas A$$ that can’t admit the student became the master.

    And I’m a Giants fan who will never forgive him for leaving the Gmen with Ray Handley instead of passing the torch to BB.

  40. jetsjetsjetsnow says: Jun 24, 2013 3:33 PM

    The main caveat is that with Parcells there wouldn’t be the asterisk next to the tarnished SB wins as is the case today. He didn’t need to cheat to get the competitive advantage.

  41. rajbais says: Jun 24, 2013 4:37 PM

    Mr. Kraft, don’t regret.

    You got the real brains behind any Parcells playoff entry.

  42. rajbais says: Jun 24, 2013 4:38 PM

    Mr. Kraft, don’t regret it.

    You got the real brains behind any Parcells playoff entry in Belichick.

  43. trollingforjustice says: Jun 24, 2013 7:52 PM

    Watch out Bill..i think Kraft wants your ring

  44. 4ever9er says: Jun 25, 2013 1:16 AM

    @logicailvoicesays says: Jun 24, 2013 8:16 AM

    If they’d taken a page from the greatest coaches and owners in history (Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, Mike Shanahan, George Allen, Jack Kent Cooke, and Dan Snyder), they’d have been much more successful.


    What are you smoking? Evidently you’re a Pinkskin fan (disillusioned I might add).
    The last time I checked only Gibbs/Cooke were Champions in Washedupton, the others except George Allen won championships with other teams.
    And we won’t talk about the 2 tainted SB’s you won during strike years (82/87)! Snyder has done nothing but spend a ton of money up to this point!

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