Bill Parcells, the controversial head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, has officially retired from coaching in the NFL. Parcells spent the last four seasons coaching the Dallas Cowboys, who had a strong start this year lead by practically-a-rookie quarter back Tony Romo, but limped into the playoffs and ultimately lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the first round.
In an e-mail statement – and not a press conference – Parcells stated “I am retiring from coaching football.”
“I want to thank Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones for their tremendous support over the last four years,” the statement continued. “Also, the players, my coaching staff and others in the support group who have done so much to help. Dallas is a great city and the Cowboys are an integral part of it. I am hopeful that they are able to go forward from here.”
Parcells, nicknamed “The Tuna”, had coached Dallas to three winning seasons in his tenure there; his previous 16 years included stints with the New York Giants, the New York Jets, and the New England Patriots. He led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories. While coaching the Jets, they reached the AFC Title game. His stint with the Patriots brought them to a Super Bowl appearance. He leaves the NFL with an impressive 183-138-1 record, showing the 9th most wins in NFL history.
Although success by his definition was tumultuous while coaching Dallas, Parcells seemed to have no regrets about his job there as shown in his e-mail statement.
“I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time,” Parcells said. “I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard.”
So far, only a brief statement has been released by Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys owner. “His contributions to the game of football and to the NFL are immeasurable,” team owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. “We will always be grateful for his dedicated effort and commitment to the Dallas Cowboys.”
There was $5 million left in Parcells’ coaching contract with the team.
Parcells, known for his tough practices and no-nonsense approach to the media, often dealt with problematic players and seemed to get them playing at peak levels. While with the Jets, he coached Keyshawn Johnson, a wide receiver that wrote a book called “Just Give Me the Damn Ball”, where he criticized other players on his own team. While with the Patriots, he dealt with wide receiver Terry Glenn, whose suspicious hamstring injury recovery during training camp caused Parcells to call him “she” in a press conference. And then there was Terrell Owens, whom Parcells refused to answer questions about during press conferences when his current and past controversial actions were brought up by reporters. Johnson and Glenn eventually played for Parcells as Dallas Cowboy members, with Glenn leading the team in receiving yards in 2004 and 2005.
He had mentored those receivers and future stars such as Phil Simms, whom he constantly criticized and road in public and in practice, but almost never in private. Simms was also a controversial choice at quarterback in New York when he started, but eventually with Parcells’ guidance he lead them to a Super Bowl victory, completing 22 of 25 passes and 3 touchdowns versus the Broncos in 1986.
Parcells also made his own Cowboys controversy when he benched veteran Drew Bledsoe for upstart quarter back Tony Romo, a guy who had only a handful of pass attempts during an NFL regular season. The Romo decision seemed to work for awhile because his mobility and accuracy eventually led them to the playoffs. He compiled nearly 3000 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, 13 interceptions and won 5 of his first 6 games. However, they lost 3 of their last 4 and the playoff loss came at Romo’s botching of the ball during a winning field goal attempt.
Jerry Jones will now have to find only the 7th head coach for the Dallas Cowboys in the team’s history. Chan Gailey and Dave Campo were his predecessors and, like Parcells, did not win the Super Bowl as Dallas had been expected to do by their fans. Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer were the last two coaches to win Super Bowls for the Cowboys; those victories kept their reputation in tact as “America’s Team”, a nickname acquired after the Tom Landry years.