Friday, January 27th marks the 17th anniversary of the New England Patriots exchanging draft picks for head coach Bill Belichick. The Patriots shipped a 1st round draft pick in 2000 to the New York Jets, along with a 4th round pick and a 7th round pick in 2001, to allow Belichick to break his Jets contract and sign with the Patriots. The Patriots also received a 2001 5th round pick and a 2002 7th round pick.
This should be regarded as the greatest trade in NFL history because the Patriots were about to embark on the most impressive stretch of franchise success the league had ever seen.
Since the Patriots acquired Belichick in 2000, he has led the team to 14 division titles, 11 conference title games, seven Super Bowls, four Super Bowl titles and the chance to win a fifth on February 5th. He has led the Patriots to the best record in the NFL on five occasions, the highest scoring offense three times, and the stingiest defense twice.
There has been no better coach in the NFL, no better franchise architect, and no better visionary since Belichick took over the Patriots.
Belichick will turn 65 years old on April 16th. Here’s to another 17 years left in the tank.