FOXBORO — Pete Carroll, an easygoing man who oversaw the demise of the New England Patriots after replacing the demanding Bill Parcells, was fired Monday after three seasons as coach.

There was no immediate word on a successor.

The team that went to the 1997 Super Bowl declined in each of Carroll's seasons, bottoming out with an 8-8 record when it beat Baltimore 20-3 Sunday after losing six of its previous seven games.

“ This is a business of accountability, and two years ago we won the division. Last year we barely made the playoffs and this year we're 8-8,” said team owner Robert Kraft, as he announced Carroll's dismissal. “ We need a momentum change.”

Carroll, 48, led the Patriots to a 10-6 record and the second round of the playoffs in 1997 and a 9-7 mark and the first round in 1998. They seemed headed to postseason play again this year, winning their first four games and going 6-2 in the first half of the season.

They took the next week off and the offense sputtered after that as the Patriots scored just 108 points in the last eight games while coordinator Ernie Zampese was criticized by fans. The low point came when they lost at Philadelphia 24-9 and at home to Buffalo, 13-10, before managing just 151 yards in the win over Baltimore.

In their last two games, the Patriots had their two least productive days of the season with 225 yards against Buffalo and 151 against Baltimore. And Drew Bledsoe threw for only 101 and 108 yards in those games.

Carroll's last week was marked by controversy as he suspended his top wide receiver, Terry Glenn, for failing to report for medical checkups on three of the previous four days.

Carroll also was criticized indirectly by Bobby Grier, vice president of player personnel, who said the players he drafted would have played better had they been used more.

Carroll's only previous NFL head coaching experience was in 1994 with the New York Jets. He was fired after one season in which they went 6-10 and was replaced by Rich Kotite.

He was coordinator of San Francisco's outstanding defense the next two seasons when the 49ers made the playoffs. They were 12-4 in 1996, the same season Parcells and the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay.

But Parcells, upset he didn't have enough power to choose his players, quit after the season to become coach of the New York Jets. Carroll took over as coach of the Patriots and Grier handled player acquisition. Only three of the 27 players drafted under Grier's leadership started Sunday.

The Patriots got little out of the three drafts Grier oversaw and allowed free agent running backs Curtis Martin to leave for the Jets and Sam Gash for the Bills.

Rookie Robert Edwards helped the running game last season, but an offseason knee injury forced him to miss this season and may end his career.

New England relied on Bledsoe's passing, but he has slumped badly while being heavily pressured. In the last eight games, he was sacked 33 times and his receivers had trouble getting open.

So after three seasons in which the Patriots started well but had midseason lulls, Carroll is out but may be sought by other teams as a defensive coach.

He entered the NFL in 1984 as Buffalo's defensive backs coach then held the same position with Minnesota from 1985 through 1989. His next stop was the Jets, where he was defensive coordinator from 1990 through 1993 before succeeding Bruce Coslet as coach.

“ This is a business of accountability, and two years ago we won the division,” Kraft said. “ Last year we barely made the playoffs and this year we're 8-8. We need a momentum change.”

Carroll, 48, led the Patriots to a 10-6 record and the second round of the playoffs in 1997 and a 9-7 mark and the first round in 1998. They seemed headed to postseason play again this season, winning their first four games and going 6-2 in the first half of the season.

They were off the next week and the offense sputtered after that. The Patriots scored only 108 points in the final eight games while coordinator Ernie Zampese was criticized by fans. The low points came when they lost at Philadelphia 24-9 and at home to Buffalo 13-10, before managing only 151 yards in the win over Baltimore.

In their final two games, the Patriots had their two least productive games of the season, with 225 yards against Buffalo and 151 against Baltimore. And Drew Bledsoe threw for only 101 and 108 yards in those games.

Carroll's final week was marked by controversy. He suspended his top wide receiver, Terry Glenn, for failing to report for medical checkups on three of the previous four days.

Carroll also was criticized indirectly by Bobby Grier, vice president of player personnel, who said the players he drafted would have played better had they been used more.

Carroll's only previous NFL head coaching experience was in 1994 with the New York Jets. He was fired after one season in which they went 6-10 and was replaced by Rich Kotite.

He was coordinator of San Francisco's outstanding defense the next two seasons when the 49ers made the playoffs. They were 12-4 in 1996, the same season Parcells and the Patriots lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay.

But Parcells, upset he didn't have enough power to choose his players, quit after the season to become coach of the Jets. Carroll took over as coach of the Patriots and Grier handled player acquisitions. Only three of the 27 players drafted under Grier's leadership started Sunday.

The Patriots got little out of the three drafts Grier oversaw and allowed free agent running backs Curtis Martin to leave for the Jets and Sam Gash for the Bills.

Rookie Robert Edwards helped the running game last season, but an offseason knee injury forced him to miss this season and might end his career.

New England relied on Bledsoe's passing, but he has slumped badly while being heavily pressured. In the final eight games, he was sacked 33 times and his receivers had trouble getting open.

So after three seasons in which the Patriots started well but had midseason lulls, Carroll is out.

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