BOSTON (CBS) — There’s been quite a bit of reporting over the past four months regarding some budding turmoil among the three most important members of the New England Patriots: owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. It’s been labeled as a “power struggle,” and it’s something that has seemingly not yet been fully resolved.
But if there’s anyone who knows a thing or two about harboring some bad feelings toward Belichick, it would be his former boss, Bill Parcells. The two worked together to win Super Bowls for the Giants, reunited in New England and then with the New York Jets, before their relationship became more than a little frayed after Belichick resigned immediately upon getting Parcells’ job as head coach of the Jets.
The two coaches didn’t speak for years before eventually reconciling over a round of golf in Nantucket, and their relationship was documented in a 30 For 30 titled “The Two Bills,” which aired during the week of the Super Bowl.
Parcells also has a history of iciness with Kraft, as Parcells’ famous line about being able to shop for the groceries remains an indelible part of Boston sports lore.
This week, Parcells talked with Gary Myers of The Athletic, and he was asked for his thoughts on the reported rift.
“The only thing you got to do is watch the product on the field,” Parcells said, via Mike Reiss. “When the season starts, all this offseason stuff, it doesn’t mean anything. Nothing.”
Parcells has experience coaching in a New York market where just about any issue — real or imagined — could end up splattered on the back page.
“I don’t pay any attention to that. Nobody knows what’s what, exactly. You are just hearing gossip and conjecture and opinion,” Parcells said. “I don’t put much stock in that. Having been in a position myself as a head coach, a lot of things are said about an organization, the coaching staff and the owner. Some of the things are just flat-out not true. Yet they get out and they get publicized because they make good headlines.”
Parcells, a 2013 inductee of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, stated that with the return of Julian Edelman and the continued dominance of Rob Gronkowski and the potential contributions of Sony Michel, the Patriots should once again be in position to contend for a Super Bowl in 2018.
“I wouldn’t underestimate them. Their track record is illustrious,” Parcells said. “You know, all things come to an end. We all know that. … I don’t see anybody right now in their division that I would say has the upper hand on them, that’s for sure. If you can win your division, you are a long way down the road to doing something.”