NFL history would look a whole lot different if Patriots owner Robert Kraft had listened to former Browns owner Art Modell.
Kraft tells Peter King of TheMMQB.com that Modell, who had hired Belichick in 1991 and fired him after the 1995 season, believed that Belichick would be a disaster in New England and told Kraft not to hire him.
“He said if I did it, I’d be making the biggest mistake of my life,” Kraft said.
In fairness to the late Modell, he remembered their conversation a little differently: In 2007, Modell said that what he had warned Kraft was simply that Belichick could be abrasive personally, not that he couldn’t coach.
“You’re not getting Prince Charming,” Modell recalled telling Kraft when asked about it in 2007, “but give him some leeway and he’ll deliver for you.”
What is beyond dispute is that Modell tired of Belichick and fired him after a 5-11 season in 1995, even though Belichick won a playoff game in 1994 — still the last playoff game the Browns won.