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Bill Parcells: Jets ‘definitely’ would’ve drafted Peyton Manning in 1997

Bill Parcells, Jets, Peyton Manning, 1997, NY
Bill Parcells, New York Jets, Getty Images

New York Jets make an appearance on the Manningcast

ESPN’s “Manningcast” – an alternate broadcast of Monday Night Football hosted by Peyton and Eli Manning – has been a hit amongst football fans this season. The multi-time Super Bowl champion brothers have been cooking up one viral soundbite after the next on a weekly basis, often featuring a notable guest.

This week, legendary NFL head coach Bill Parcells joined the Manningcast in the first quarter of the New York Giants-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game.

Of course, the New York Jets had to come up.

Parcells’ Jets had the first overall pick in 1997, his first season as the team’s head coach and general manager. Peyton famously spurned the Jets by returning to Tennessee for the 1997 season and waiting to go pro until 1998. The Colts took him first overall and the rest is history.

Eli asked Parcells whether he and the Jets would’ve drafted Peyton had he entered the 1997 NFL draft, and how he would handle Peyton’s 28 rookie-year interceptions.

Parcells provided an answer that starts out as another dosage of “what-if?” disappointment for Jets fans before taking a hilarious turn.

“Well, we definitely would’ve drafted him,” Parcells says, “but I would’ve probably cut my throat at about (interception) No. 15, so I wouldn’t have seen those additional 13 (interceptions).”

New York Jets, Jets X-Factor

Parcells coached the Jets for three seasons (1997-99). He led them to a 29-19 regular season record, a win percentage of .604 that is the best of any head coach in franchise history. Parcells stepped down as head coach in 2000 but remained the team’s general manager for one more season.

Not much needs to be said about what Peyton went on to do after spurning the Jets. He’s a two-time Super Bowl champion who sits at third on the NFL’s all-time list in touchdown passes (539) and passing yards (71,940).

The Jets got some sweet revenge on Peyton in meaningful moments, though, going 2-1 against him in the playoffs.

New York gave Manning what amounted to be his biggest-ever playoff beatdown in the 2002 Wild Card round, a 41-0 shellacking at Giants Stadium that remains the Jets’ most recent home playoff game. In the 2010 Wild Card round, the Jets took a 17-16 victory over Manning in what would be his last game as a Colt.

The Manningcast will return on Dec. 6 when the Buffalo Bills host the New England Patriots in Week 13, airing on ESPN2.

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