In a mild surprise, Bill Parcells walked away from a $5 million dollar a year job with the Dallas Cowboys. If it had happened sooner, there would have been nothing surprising about it. Parcells waited 15 days after the ‘Boys last game, however. Three assistant coaches had already departed for other teams, leading one to believe that maybe they knew something.
In any event, the NFL job market has shrunk in that two weeks plus with several jobs already having been filled. The speculation has begun, centering on retreads like Wade Phillips. Phillips, the San Diego defensive coordinator, has already been fired from Head Coaching jobs in Denver and Buffalo. What, Wade’s Dad, Bum Phillips wasn’t available?
The speculation also centers on the “usual suspects” in the collegiate ranks, Pete Carroll, Bob Stoops and a couple of others. However, I doubt if many established Head Coaches are lined up wanting to work for micro-manager Jerry Jones. Coaching Terrell Owens is another reason to steer clear of this job for most coaches. The expectations are very high in Big “D”, even for a team that hasn’t won a postseason game in 10 years. Following a legend is just one more check in the negative column.
In my opinion, Jones will wind up hiring a Coach he can control. The marriage with Parcells lasted longer and was more cooperative than I expected, with Jones giving the Tuna more control than any of his coaches since Jimmy Johnson. And it didn’t work, at least in winning in the postseason. Parcells had won two Super Bowls, so it made sense to turn him loose somewhat. Now, look for Jones to hire a lesser known to reassert the Owner’s control. Barry Switzer was a surprise choice in 1994 and latched onto Jimmy Johnson’s coattails long enough to get a ring.
Houston Nutt of Arkansas’ name has even been mentioned. The two know each other well with Jones being an old Razorback, but many Hog fans don’t think they could be so lucky. Nutt has been involved in nonstop controversy the last month or so, but has no NFL experience. It’s hard to imagine his rah-rah style working in the NFL, but he is someone Jones could control, so who knows?
As far as the Oakland Raiders, it couldn’t be more obvious that most Coaches don’t want to work for curmudgeon Al Davis. After being turned down by numerous candidates, including USC assistant Steve Sarkisian, Davis may finally have his man in 31 year old Lane Kiffin, also of USC. He comes from good stock with Father Monte Kiffin being one of the best NFL defensive cooordinators for years. He would be advised to keep Rob Ryan as his defensive coordinator, although Ryan, son of Buddy, has a much different approach than Kiffin’s dad.
Hopefully, Lane Kiffin will not have players going over his head to Al Davis on disciplinary matters like the last few Raider puppets And the contract has not been signed yet. 3 or 4 years ago, Davis reportedly had a deal with Sean Payton, only to have Payton back out, eventually landing in New Orleans.
I don’t know about you, but I will miss Parcells. Most notably his often edgy interaction with the press. Parcells was always good copy and I just wonder how long it will be before Tuna appears in one of those Coors lite commercials like Jim Mora, Bill Walsh, Mike Ditka and Dick Vermeil. My favorite Tuna moment with the press came when he was preparing to take New England to the Super Bowl to face Green Bay. There were rumors swirling that he was headed to the Jets (which turned out to be true). In response to a question about the Jets ownership getting the name of the Meadowlands changed to “Parcellsland” as part of the deal, Parcells just looked at the guy disgustedly for a moment and asked: “Is LSD makin’ a comeback”?