Friday, August 02, 2013

The Big Tuna

Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and Shank pens a righteous column about him and his time with the Patriots.
Bill Parcells takes his rightful place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend, and there will be noise about his two Super Bowl championships with the New York Giants (remember Scott Norwood and wide right?), and his rebuilding of the Jets, Cowboys, and Dolphins. Parcells is the only man in NFL history to lead four franchises to the playoffs and he is one of only five men to take two franchises to the Super Bowl. He is renowned as the great, almighty Tuna, the quintessential Jersey guy who engaged reporters and insisted, “You are what your record says you are.’’

All swell. The Tuna deserves props and is overdue for a bust in Canton. But it is his four-year stint as head coach of the Patriots that matters most to us here in New England. Parcells is the man who rescued the Patriots from irrelevance and maybe from a move to St. Louis.

More than Bob Kraft, Tom Brady or Bill Belichick, Parcells is the man who changed the culture of football in Foxborough.

1 comment:

Monkeesfan said...

Typical of Shank to be wrong.

Parcells went to the Patriots because he knew it was a good situation for him, not because he really relished the challenge of actually rebuilding a team (else he'd have taken the Atlanta job in 1987 or the Tampa Bay job in 1991). He went to a Patriots team that had had two pretty good drafts 1991-2 and had a respectable core of players plus the #1 pick for 1993.

Even with that it took Bob Kraft to stabilize the overall organization (no, Dan, they were NOT going to St. Louis because Kraft held their stadium lease through 2001; he'd done his homework on how to become an NFL owner where Jim Orthwein had not) and it took taking the shackles off Drew Bledsoe in November 1994 before the Patriots began surging, and even then Parcells never recognized that the game was now all about passing and quarterbacking; after Bledsoe broke his shoulder against San Francisco in 1995 Parcells worked to reign in the passing game and make it about running the ball and playing defense - outdated concepts by 1995 (forgotten is that the 1996 Patriots went to the Superbowl after they rushed for only 3.4 yards per carry - the same YPC as the 2003 Superbowl champs).

And after he quit the Patriots before Superbowl XXXI he went to a Jets team that had spent $70 million on free agent and rookie talent and conveniently went 9-7 in 1997, then with Martin, Byars, and Dave Meggett surprised everyone by going 12-4 - then coughed it up at Denver in the AFC Championship Game.

Then he quit the Jets after they went 17-15 the next two years; he agreed to go to Tampa Bay and then stiffed them again, then signed with the Cowboys - despite their 15-33 record 2000-2 they were another situation he knew was good - he took the available talent and went 10-6 in 2003 then got croaked in the playoffs by Carolina (who truly were rebuilt, by John Fox, after going 20-44 in the 1998-2001 seasons); he then followed up by shopping for the groceries - and he went 6-10 in 2004 and needed Drew Bledsoe to rescue him again (sorry Al From Everett).

Then he went to Miami - again, a situation he knew was good. He had available talent, acquired a quarterback in Chad Pennington, and had one good year (2008). The Dolphins then fell apart and Parcell's 2008-9 drafts produced one player still there.

Parcells may deserve to be in the Football Hall Of Fame, but of the coaches enshrined he deserves it less than Marv Levy (criticized for having success with only one group of players, the K-Gun era Bills).