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  • When Bill Parcels shut down Tom Brady rumors in 2000 NFL Draft - "I don't even remember ever hearing his name"
Former New York Jets head coach and general manager Bill Parcells confirmed that no one brought up Tom Brady's name during the 2000 NFL Draft.

When Bill Parcels shut down Tom Brady rumors in 2000 NFL Draft - "I don't even remember ever hearing his name"

It would be a travesty if Tom Brady didn’t make the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Brady holds every meaningful quarterback record, from most victories to passing yards and touchdowns. He also won every possible individual award from Most Valuable Player, Offensive Player of the Year, and Comeback Player of the Year. He is also the game’s greatest winner, with seven Super Bowl titles, six All-Pro distinctions, and 15 Pro Bowl selections.


However, reports claimed that Brady’s storied career might have happened with the New York Jets instead of the New England Patriots. It was also believed that Jets scout Jesse Kaye pressed then-general manager Bill Parcells to draft Tom Brady.

After all, he had a 20-5 record as a two-year starter for the Michigan Wolverines. Brady also led his collegiate squad to victories in the Citrus Bowl and the Orange Bowl. The California native defied the odds after starting seventh in Michigan’s quarterback depth chart. He also beat out highly-touted prospect Drew Henson to become QB1.

However, Parcells made an appearance on ESPN Radio’s “The Michael Kay Show” in 2014. He said that the conversation between him and Kaye did not happen.

“I can tell you I have absolutely no recollection of (Brady’s name being said). And, you know, some of these scouts, now that Brady has been a monumental success, they revisit their opinion.
"Don’t forget; there were 198 (picks) past him. He was the 199th pick, correct? So, I don’t even remember ever hearing his name from anyone in the Jets’ organization.”

The Jets selected quarterback Chad Pennington with the 18th overall pick in the 2000 draft, the first of six play-callers chosen before Brady. They also took cornerback Tony Scott in the sixth round (179th overall), their final selection before the Patriots took Tom Brady at 199.

While Pennington played eight seasons for the Jets, shoulder injuries hampered his performance. Meanwhile, Scott lasted only two NFL seasons.

Tom Brady tormented the New York Jets

Former Patriots quarterbacks coach Dick Rehbein pushed new head coach and de facto general manager Bill Belichick to draft Tom Brady. Rehbein was impressed with him that he could not care less about his disappointing scouting combine performance.


It was also a shaky period for Belichick because he resigned after becoming the Jets’ head coach for one day. After the 1999 season, he believed he would take over from Parcells as head coach and general manager.

Belichick felt blindsided when Parcells stayed as general manager for another season, leading him to write his brief resignation note on a napkin.

Not long after, Patriots owner Robert Kraft hired Belichick and gave him complete control over the squad. The 2000 draft was the first he oversaw for the team, and he heeded Rehbein’s suggestion by taking Brady in the sixth round.

Even if Tom Brady eventually made the active roster, the odds of success were initially stacked against him. He started fourth in the depth chart behind Drew Bledsoe, Michael Bishop, and John Friesz.

Ironically, a vicious hit by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis on Bledsoe gave Brady a shot. He made the most of his opportunity and never looked back. He led the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles in nine appearances. The unheralded quarterback also played 20 seasons for New England.


The Patriots’ gain is the Jets’ loss. Parcells left New York’s AFC squad after the 2000 season and resurfaced with the Dallas Cowboys three years later. Worst yet, the Jets couldn’t solve the Tom Brady riddle.

The three-time NFL MVP had a 31-8 record against the Jets. He has also defeated 12 different Jets quarterbacks throughout his 23-season career. Mark Sanchez had the most success against Brady but only won three out of their nine meetings.

It was a one-sided contest because the Patriots won 17 division titles with Brady as their starter. Conversely, the Jets took the AFC East in 2002 via a tiebreaker for having a better record in common games with New England.

As Tom Brady retired for good after the 2022 season, New York Jets fans will forever speculate what might have been. But even if Parcells is already 81, he will continue stressing that Brady wasn’t part of the plan.

Edited by
John Maxwell
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