Monday, December 29, 2008

The Big Tuna: The Drama Continues

The Bill Parcells soap opera continues this week, and not for the reasons you might expect. Sure, three coaches in the NFL have just been axed, and more are likely to follow, and normally when you hear about coaching opportunities, a huge shadow looms over each: Parcells (although the other Bill, Cowher, is starting to compete). The latest drama is on his success with the Miami Dolphins as the head of football operations. Turns out, his contract is unique in that if the owner sells the team, he can walk away, and be fully paid for his whole contract. So, the hand wringing begins: will he stay or won't he?

This is a guy who twice put his hall of fame election on hold by refusing to stay unretired and come out to restore respectability to a franchise, so who's to say he won't again? He's had the magic touch, both as a coach and an executive, for now five major NFL franchises. He brought the New York Giants two Superbowl rings. He brought the Patriots to a Superbowl. He brought the Jets to the AFC Championship. He restored a winning tradition in Dallas, and brought them back to the playoffs. And now, in Miami, he has completed a 1-season turnaround that is unheard of, going from worst team to the playoffs in a single season.

And yet, every one of those teams he brought success to lived with the drama of Parcells. He accepted the job with the Jets the day before he coached their arch-enemy,the Patriots, in the Superbowl...and let the media know. Think that was a distraction? He jilted the Buccaneers so many times in the 90's while with the Giants, they had to enlist in self-help programs. He flirted so blatantly with the Cowboys, it made reality TV look tame by comparison.

Y'know, I've actually accidentally become a Parcells observer. I attended Superbowl XXV, where Parcells won his Superbowl ring. I lived in New England in the early '90's, watching him take over the local Patriots and change them from a laughingstock to the building blocks of the dynasty they became. I watched him ressurect Vinny Testaverde with the Jets. And suffered horribly when he came to put his stamp on my beloved Cowboys. What he has accomplished in Miami, though, is truly amazing: taking over a historically bad team, hiring a first-time head coach (his line coach from the Cowboys), changing 2/3 of the team to "Parcells guys," and then just going and playing in one of the most competitive divisions in football (the Pats went 11-5, playing in the same division, and couldn't make the playoffs it was so tough), only to win it?

Most people eat crow in this situation. I may be heading for a Tuna sandwich.

So, saddle up and ride: we're in a for a long offseason of "what will he do?" Will Parcells grab the reigns of the legendary Silver and Black to finally return them to their commitment to excellence? Or will he stay in South Florida, to continue his ressurection? Or will he be the prodigal son, returning to the Big Apple to take over Gang Green?

Stay tuned...

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