A few days ago, Bill Parcells announced that he would not return for the final year of his contract as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. The mood in Dallas following the announcement can be summed up in one word: jubilant. For all of the hype surrounding this future Hall of Fame coach, his tenure with the Cowboys never approached the success that Tom Landry, Jimmy Johnson, or even Barry Switzer enjoyed before him.
The amazing thing is that anyone is surprised by either his lack of success or his departure. Parcells never disputed the reports that he only returned to coaching because he needed money, something Jerry Jones certainly does not lack. He would have retired last year had Jones not given him a raise of $1 million (to $5 million) for 2006 and an extension for 2007 worth another $5 million. This after a season in which his team went 9-7 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
The problem for Dallas fans was that we had suffered through three years of a 5-11 record; Jones would have hired Lucifer to get the team back to respectability, and came close with Bill. Assistant coaches were kept under such a tight reign they could barely do their jobs. To see the talent of Parcells’ assistants when they are actually allowed to actually coach, look no further than the success of the New Orleans Saints under Sean Payton this year.
The Cowboys suffered through a quarterback carousel that included such luminaries as Quincy Carter and Drew Henson, as well as retread versions of Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe, before finally discovering Tony Romo, who had only been right under Bill’s nose for four years.
Every year, Parcells’ tried to win it all in one shot, desperately searching for another Super Bowl win that would cement his place among the great coaches of all-time. He leaves Dallas as only the fourth most successful coach of a team that has only had six head coaches in its 46-year existence. So much for building up his legacy.
It might not have been so bad had he not been the former coach of the New York Giants. You never, ever hire a coach from your own division, no matter how much time has passed since he coached there. Every time Dallas fans had to hear about his Super Bowl wins with the Giants, it only served to remind of the years that the title went to an NFC East team that wasn’t the Cowboys.
So we bid farewell to Bill Parcells, and ask only one thing from him as he goes: take Terrell Owens with you.