Sports Chat: The Cult of Parcells

I’m gonna try something new here that I’ve been mulling over for a bit now, and have regular (I hope) posts about sports, a column of sorts where I’ll discuss anything in the world of sports that might be bothering or interesting me. I’ve been thinking about it for awhile now, as a large portion of my day is spent reading sports websites and blogs while I’m pretending to be working. I’ve held off for a couple reasons: one, I can only think of one person who might be reading this that will remotely care about what I have to say, and two, there’s already a world of things I want to write and don’t have enough time for, so why add one more?

Ultimately, I’m aware enough to realise that I shouldn’t worry about what people want to read on my blog, cause the truth very well be that they’re equally disinterested in everything I write. I do this for me, and if anyone else cares to read or relates to what I write, then that’s just gravy. As for whether or not I have the time, well, if I’m spending this much time thinking about it, then getting the thoughts out in writing might just make my life easier.

I also hate tuna.

First off, I should preface everything I’m about to say with the fact that I am not a Cowboys fan. At all. In fact, I hate them, like I hate most overdog, overhyped, bandwagon non-fan attracting team in every sport (besides the Lakers in the NBA. What can I say? I discovered basketball in the Showtime heydays).

However, I don’t think this shapes my opinion of Bill Parcells all the much, as I’m reasonably confident that I’ll feel the same way about him when he leaves the Cowboys and eventually starts coaching elsewhere. And how I feel is thus: Bill Parcells is the most overrated coach in professional sports today.

Look, I’m not going to say that the guy can’t coach. Two Super Bowl wins, one more Super Bowl appearance, and a lifetime 163-123-1 record suggest that he can coach a bit. I’ll even say that he’s a Hall of Fame coach. My problem is with the perception amongst those who write and talk about football for a living that he is The Best Coach in Football, a man amongst men, an all-knowing genius who can coach like no other.

Given the way announcers and writers talk about him, you’d expect Parcells to be the winningest winner who ever did win. He is not. Instead he is a coach who has not won a playoff game in eight years (not nine years, as quoted on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, which was my favourite part of the otherwise bad show). True, he wasn’t coaching for four of those seasons, but it’s still an awful long time for someone who people keeping slobbering over. And about those Super Bowls, his last appearance was over ten years ago, and his last win was 16 years ago, which was a few feet of a Scott Norwood field goaal from being a loss. Furthermore, all of his Super Bowl wins, or even his last playoff win (with the Jets in 1998, when he took them to the AFC Championship game), came with Bill Belichick as an assistant (who has gone on to win three Super Bowls on his own).

Despite the fact that he had never won a playoff game with the Cowboys, and until this season, had only taken them to the playoffs once, missing the past two postseasons, the Cowboys were a popular pick to make, and in some instances win, the whole thing this season. Why? Because of the silly notion that Bill Parcells-coached teams always make the Super Bowl in his fourth season of his tenure. It happened with the Giants and the Patroits, and he only coached three seasons with the Jets, finishing 8-8 in his third season and not looking like he was going to the Super Bowl anytime soon. Here’s the thing, two times is impressive, but its not a trend. Certainly not a significant enough one to base one’s predictions from. So why do pundits do so? Cause they worship at the cult of Parcells.

From what I can tell, the reason why Parcells gets so much credit is that he’s a gruff man’s man, the kind that gives reporters good quotes and has the old-school mentality that so many old-school types that populate broadcast booths long for. How is some washed up old relic like John Madden supposed to properly critique a washed old relic like Parcells? Instead, he says that Parcells deserves the Coach of the Year award for turning the Cowboys around from their poor start, ignoring the fact that Parcells himself shares the blame for their poor start.

Some might say that Parcells was a botched snap away from winning his first playoff game in eight years. First off, not quite. The Seahawks still had over a minute to march up the field into field goal position, so who knows? But more interestingly, after Tony Romo botched the hold, he took off before getting tackled half a yard short of the first down, two yards from scoring a touchdown. If kicker Martin Gramatica had made even a halfway decent block on the Seahawks Jordan Babineaux, then Romo at least makes the first down, and probably scores. What does this have to do with Parcells? Well, if Tuna’s good ol’ boy temper didn’t lead him to waive Mike Vanderjagt at mid-season and replace him with the inferior Gramatica, Vanderjagt, the idiot kicker who thinks he’s a real football player, would’ve been in for that kick, and he would’ve made the block.

Also, and this can’t be said enough, the Seahawks were not a good team this year, and Parcells, god of coaching, couldn’t beat them. So let’s fucking cool it on all the Parcells love, can we please?

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