Bill Parcells regrets leaving Patriots

Patriots coach Bill Parcells was surrounded by security as he left the field for the last time as New England's head coach Jan. 26, 1997.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Patriots coach Bill Parcells was surrounded by security as he left the field for the last time as New England's head coach Jan. 26, 1997.

Bill Parcells will be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer and among his many accomplishments is turning around what had been a moribund New England Patriots franchise.

His one regret?


His controversial departure from Foxborough, shortly after the Patriots lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI. Word broke shortly before the game that he was talking to the New York Jets about their coaching job and he left days after the Super Bowl.

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

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Parcells, who won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, turned around the Patriots during his four-year tenure, capped by the Super Bowl appearance in 1996. But he also clashed with owner Robert Kraft, particularly over player personnel decisions.

“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,” Parcells said.

Kraft told USA Today that he also regretted Parcells’s departure, and spoke with him about it a few 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 said.

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