When the story of the Patriots emergence as one of the NFL's top powers is talked and written about, people often refer to three people who combined forces to help lead the franchise out of ruins.
Robert Kraft bought the team in 1994 and he inherited Bill Parcells and Drew Bledsoe, who arrived just a year earlier. By 1996, that triumvirate found itself in the Super Bowl, the first of six trips Kraft would make to the big game with his team.
The impact those three had was huge, but obviously it didn't last long. Following that special season that ended with a loss to Green Bay in New Orleans, Parcells chose to leave New England and, after much legal haggling, made his way to New York to resurrect the Jets.
It was an ugly divorce between he and Kraft, but evidently the 17 years that have since passed have led to some soul searching on the part of the coach. Parcells will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, and he recently chatted with Jim Corbett of USA Today.
Interestingly, Parcells took some responsibility for the breakup, calling it one of his greatest regrets.
"I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently ..." Parcells said. "I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do. I was absolutely too headstrong. And [Kraft] might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently."
Corbett explained how Kraft also expressed regret with the way the situation unfolded.
"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.
"It would have been pretty special. We were just coming at it from different times. And so much in life is timing. But in the end, we have a great relationship today. I have great respect for him. He did a great deal for our franchise. And I will forever be grateful for that."