Bill Parcells coached the New England Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI before leaving the team. (Sporting News/Icon SMI)
Bill Parcells has had a very successful NFL career that will see the former head coach inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 3. It could have been better had he stayed in New England after the 1996 season, the 71-year-old ex-coach told USA Today.
Parcells left the team after guiding the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI. The Pats lost to the Green Bay Packers, and Parcells left after being dissatisfied with his lack of influence on roster decisions. Patriots owner Robert Kraft let Bobby Grier, the director of player personnel at the time, make the roster decisions.
Pete Carroll took over for three seasons after Parcells left, and Bill Belichick followed in 2000 by guiding the Patriots to three Super Bowl victories.
From USA Today:
"I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently ... " Parcells recently told USA TODAY Sports. "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."
After leaving New England, Parcells went on to coach the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys. He made peace with Kraft at a Super Bowl years later.
"At a Super Bowl, Bill was standing there as I approached, and he just said to me, 'If I had to do it all over again. I would have done things differently.' And I said, 'So would I,'" Kraft told USA TODAY Sports.
"It would have been pretty special," Kraft said. "We were just coming at it from different times. And so much in life is timing. But in the end, we have a great relationship today. I have great respect for him. He did a great deal for our franchise. And I will forever be grateful for that."