Monday, January 22, 2007

Parcells Puts Down the Tuna . . . Again

He delivered two Superbowl rings, returning the storied New York Giants franchise back to its winning ways. He took two teams - who were at the time laughingstocks of the NFL - to a Superbowl and an AFC championship game. Most recently, he pulled "America's Team" out of the gutter and led them back to the playoffs in his first season in Big D. But today Bill Parcells may have retired for good.

The recent dominance of Bill Belichick has painted Parcells as an indifferent coach who delegated to genius coordinators or assistant coaches. Don't forget that your Genius Belichick could never cut it in Cleveland, abandoned a head-coaching position with the Jets, and happens to have Tom Brady as his quarterback every January. It's not a coincidence that the Tuna created a winning culture at every stop he made along a vast coaching journey.

Following a 2-14 season, Parcells took over as head coach of the Patriots, coming out of retirement for the first of many times. Two years later, the Pats were 10-6 and headed to the playoffs. Following a 1-15 season under NFL guru Rich Kotite, Parcells took over as head coach of the New York Jets.

In his first season, the Jets were 9-7 and just missed a playoff berth. The following season Parcells would take the Jets to the AFC Championship game, with an unpredictable bout of fumble-itus allowing the Denver Broncos a victory and Superbowl cakewalk against the non-competitive Atlanta Falcons. Following a 5-11 season, Parcells led the Dallas Cowboys to a 10-6 record and another unlikely playoff berth.

Some interesting tidbits that you'll probably forget by tomorrow morning:

    • Parcells was originally approached by Electronic Arts in the late 1980s about starting a professional football video gaming franchise. Parcells showed no interest, paving the way for John Madden's football video games, which are now consistently among the highest selling video games on a yearly basis.

    • Parcells is a Boston Red Sox fan. Growing up, the one thing Parcells' father was obnoxious about was being a fan of the New York Yankees. Parcells became a Red Sox fan because he thought that they were the only team that could beat the Yankees.

    • Parcells was the first coach in football history to be the recipient of the Gatorade Bath, compliments of Harry Carson and Jim Burt. As the Giants went on a winning streak during their 1986 Super Bowl run, the team would dump a Gatorade bucket of ice water over Parcells's head. This is a tradition that is now common practice in high school, college, and professional football.

    • Parcells earned the nickname "The Big Tuna" when he responded to a statement from a player with the incredulous "Who do you think I am? Charlie the Tuna?"
As a Jets fan, it is hard not to be grateful for Parcells' short stay at Weeb Ewbank Hall. He changed the mentality of "being a Jet" and some of his draft-picks still wear green - like QB Chad Pennington.

Hate him or love him, every football fan or sports fan in general should check out Michael Lewis' exemplary article on Parcells. Throughout the piece, nothing is sugar-coated about the man. The everyday grind he puts himself through is at times unbearable and yet extremely admirable. We see the self-destructive tear an NFL head coach must bare in order to achieve the ultimate.

If you're like me and felt obligated to watch Bill Belichick squirm during the postgame "hug it out" medley, you had to have noticed how the prick-of-a-coach snubbed the victorious but classy Peyton Manning. As you can see in the below video, Beli-prick decided to brush right past Manning, hardly acknowledging him.

Talk about a sore loser, this guy takes it to an art form. Scratch that. He takes it to a kindergarten form. You've beaten this guy to a pulp in multiple postseason scenarios and you can't even stop to congratulate him for finally getting over the playoff hump? What a joke.

Have a nice offseason digesting the worst conference championship game collapse in NFL history, Bill.

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