As Nick Folk's game-winning field goal soared through the uprights at MetLife Stadium as time expired on Monday night, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was able to celebrate.
Not just because his team had snapped a four-game losing streak, but New England had beaten the Jets. Taking down a division rival is always nice, but for Belichick, victories against New York always taste extra sweet.
Even for a coach that's won six Super Bowls, escaping the Jets head coaching job and stepping down in 2000 remains one of the best moments of Belichick's career.
"That was one of the not only most defining, but one of the great moments of my career," Belichick said Tuesday in an interview on WEEI in Boston according to ESPN's Mike Reiss. "That combined with Robert [Kraft] giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Belichick famously resigned just one day after he was hired as head coach of the Jets. It was impossible to know it at the time, but that would go on to be one of the worst moments for New York in franchise history.
"That wasn't a good situation for me and I didn't want to be a part of it, so I wasn't," Belichick said in the interview with WEEI. "The other half was Robert giving me the opportunity to come [to New England]. Trading, he gave up quite a bit for me to come here, that was a big trade. I'm very thankful that it worked out."
Eventually Belichick wound up in New England in exchange for a 2000 first-round pick. Jets fans went on to watch helplessly as Belichick—and a quarterback by the name of Tom Brady, who was a sixth-rounder that same year—established a dynasty up the road in Foxborough.
Belichick and the Patriots won six rings and 17 division titles over the next two decades. In that same span, the Jets have one division title, have had six different head coaches and are onto their 10th losing season with an 0-9 record in 2020.
"I appreciate all the support from Robert, the Kraft family, the Patriots' organization and all the New England fans. I'll keep trying to do my best for this team, and this organization, giving the very best that I can. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to come here and I just wasn't going to stay there in that situation."