Tonight is the night. ESPN presents their latest documentary. ‘The Two Bills’ chronicles a pair of the greatest football coaches ever. Both coached the Patriots, among others. I’m not big on comparisons in terms of who is better. I’d rather just appreciate greatness. Obviously Bill Belichick’s accomplishments speak for themselves. Younger fans probably don’t realize how great Bill Parcells was. As Lord Tree Sap told me, the guy pretty much rebuilt everybody in the AFC East.
Sorry, Buffalo. Parcells turned around the Pats and Jets. He took New England to a Super Bowl. Today we think of New England as a primary franchise. Before Parcells took over, New England was in disarray. Robert Kraft bought the Patriots from someone who wanted to move them. They would have been renamed the St. Louis Stallions. Even if Belichick did a better job or won more, there is something to be said for the guy doing it first.
Without Parcells, Belichick does not get a chance for so much greatness. Of course, that could be said about Belichick’s whole career. His first job as head coach followed years of coaching in the Giants organization under Parcells. After coaching New England for four years, Parcells headed back to New York.
The 1997 Jets went from 1-15 a season earlier to 9-7. Year two as Jets coach saw additional improvement. In 1998 the Jets won their division and earned a bye. They beat Jacksonville and were up 10-0 in Denver with a Super Bowl on the line.
Later, Parcells was the Executive VP of Football Operations for Miami. He engineered another amazing turnaround. The Dolphins won just once during their 2007 campaign. They finished 11-5 in 2008. The Dolphins were division champs. Lightning had struck for a second time. Parcells had done it again. More first year magic.
That’s just part of what Parcells did. Despite his AFC East greatness, much of what Parcells is known for happened in the NFC East. He won his two championships coaching the Giants. This is another example of fans only knowing what the team represents today.
Many do not remember their long drought before Parcells got there. His final work as a head coach came with Dallas. Tony Romo’s fumbled snap prevented a playoff win in Seattle. Mike Francesa often told the story of how Dallas would have advanced to play Chicago, and Parcells was confident about that potential matchup. Francesa should be featured tonight, but that’s a topic for another time.
Perhaps the most interesting part of tonight’s documentary will be having Belichick and Parcells together. I’m sure plenty of time will be devoted to their relationship. I wonder how much time will be spent on Belichick walking away from the Jets. Another juicy subject will be when Belichick’s Browns beat New England (coached by Parcells) in a playoff game. I have been waiting to see this for months. Enjoy tonight’s presentation on ESPN at 9:00.