Sunday, February 03, 2013


Shank's column from Saturday takes a parochial turn; because when you're at the Super Bowl, it's all about the Patriots.
NEW ORLEANS — Bob Kraft is the benevolent, all-powerful NFL owner, overseeing an infinite string of sellouts and success. Bill Belichick is the strategic mastermind, drawing comparisons with Vince Lombardi. Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the league.

They are the holy trinity of New England football.

But they did not invent the winning culture of the New England Patriots.

It was Bill Parcells.


mike_b1 said...

Shank drank too many Hurricanes and forgot about Raymond Berry.

Monkeesfan said...

Shank also forgot that Parcells was the opportunist, not the builder - Bobby Grier had been calling the personnel shots before Parcells got there and the 1991-92 drafts produced a number of players who contributed to Parcells' success in Foxboro, this on top of already-established contributors like Maurice Hurst, Michael Timpson, Vincent Brown, Bruce Armstrong, and Andre Tippett. Parcells came to Foxboro (as opposed to going to Tampa Bay) because he knew he had a situation that was good for him - a core of capable players and the #1 draft pick to play with (and wouldn't you know, Parcells undersells what he had in Shank's quotes to make himself look better).

Contrary to Shank (of course), Parcells, even with ostensible control of personnel, did not build the team that made the Patriots winners again; he basically rode the wave. The solid drafts of 1991-92 continued with Bledsoe, Vincent Brisby, etc. Free agency, in contrast, was a Parcells weakness he never overcame - Myron Guyton and Reyna Thompson being his most egregious free agent flops. Parcells also had zero clue about the salary cap and how it was changing roster construction - this is where Kraft had Parcells completely outclassed on football; Kraft saw where the league was going in the salary cap era and wanted the team run like his other businesses because he saw the league was heading in that direction. It was what drew him to Belichick - Belichick spoke the same economic language as Kraft and understood where the league was going.

Parcells also had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the modern game, where establishing the run and playing defense were already outdated; he kept Drew Bledsoe shackled for the most part in his first 25 games; when Bledsoe was allowed to throw the ball more, the Patriots consistently did better; when Parcells tried to establish the run, they went nowhere. The second half of the 1994 season was when it became clear that Bledsoe, NOT Parcells, was key to the team's success. Parcells reigned in the passing game after Bledsoe's separated shoulder against the 49ers and used Dave Meggett and Curtis Martin; they rushed for 1,866 yards and won just six games (and were just 23rd in scoring) where they had just 1,332 rushing yards in winning ten games and were 8th in scoring in 1994. In going to the Superbowl in 1996 they averaged just 3.4 yards per carry (I always point this out to the Dan Marino rumpswabs; 14 of Marino's 17 Dolphins squads outrushed the 1996 and also 2003 Patriots), yet Parcells never quite got it that establishing the run and playing defense were a recipe for losing - it's why he objected so angrily to Grier drafting Terry Glenn.

One would think Parcells' poor showing since leaving the Patriots - one playoff win, lack of long-term success with the Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins (his entire 2008 draft class other than Jake Long, who may not even be there in 2013, is now gone) - and the fact he only went to situations he knew were good (as opposed to Dan Reeves going to Atlanta - which Parcells stiffed in 1987 - and making them a Superbowl team or Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden making the Buccaneers a Superbowl winner) would have caused second thoughts about who really deserves credit for the Patriots' success. But Shank's ignorance of football perseveres.

Monkeesfan said...

One other free agent flop of Parcells - Marion Butts.

Monkeesfan said...

Damn, one more thing, to coin a Peter Falk cliche (I'm sure Dan will appreciate the reference) -

Bobby Grier has been associate director of pro scouting for the Houston Texans, and has won more playoff games since leaving the Patriots than Parcells has. Sorry Shank (and Al From Everett) - Grier deserved more personnel credit than Parcells.

Monkeesfan said...


Bill Belichick
Chuck Fairbanks
Raymond Berry
Mike Holovak