The only reason the Bill Parcells/Patriots breakup in 1999 doesn’t get referred to as “messier than a season finale of Jersey Shore” is that, well, Jersey Shore didn’t exist as a TV show yet. Enter Pete Carroll, who....let’s put it this way: if you were one of the 32 people who owned an NFL team, ESPECIALLY a historical “look at that guy, he’s throwing up on Bourbon Street, wow, you are one pathetic loser!” franchise like the pre-Belichick Patriots, would you have the stones to fire a head coach whose worst record in his 3 years with New England was 8-8 and made the playoffs twice in 3 years?
Gonna go ahead and guess the answer to that from everyone except the person that doesn’t bet the farm on their last hand of blackjack is “No, missing the playoffs once in 3 years is a fluke, let’s bring Carroll back and see what he can do with Drew Bledsoe, Terry Glenn, Ben Coates, and a stacked defense (Carroll’s specialty, of course) with Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Lawyer Milloy, and Tedy Bruschi, and that’s the short list), let’s stick with what works, hope for double-digit wins next year, and we’ll be all set”.
Instead, Robert Kraft rolls the dice in a completely different way, makes “one of the toughest decisions he’s ever had to make after following a legend”, (Kraft’s words, not mine) and crossed the T’s and dotted the lowercase J’s with Bill Belichick, who had just gone a combined 36-44 with the Cleveland Browns. Bill, the supposed defensive genius who somehow couldn’t figure out how to get consecutive winning seasons out of one of football’s proudest franchises, not to even mention pissing off a fanbase that’d easily start a bar fight if you so much as said “You know, Jim Brown was good and all, BUT....”.
Meanwhile, Kraft sticks to his guns, gives Belichick the keys to the Lamborghini, and says “Here, enjoy”.
Also meanwhile, well, Pete Carroll’s coaching wizardry and subsequent scandal at USC has it’s own episode 30 for 30 for a reason.
Editor’s Note: We are going to look at some other “What Ifs?” this offseason, so feel free to post some of your ideas or theories in the comments section!