Bill Parcells is one of the more memorable coaches in NFL history. Not only was he an excellent orchestrator of coaches and evaluator of talent, he was quite the personality during press conferences.
Bill Parcells was actually selected in the 7th Round of the 1964 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, but he was cut before he played a single game, so he almost immediately hopped into coaching (at Hastings) after graduating from Wichita State. He coached linebackers at Hastings, Wichita State and then later at Army before being promoted to defensive coordinator at Army in 1968. In 1970 he returned to coaching linebackers with Florida State, and the later Vanderbilt and Texas Tech, before taking his first head coaching job with Air Force in 1978.
Parcells briefly took a job as the defensive coordinator for the Giants under Ray Perkins in ’79- but quit the job. He returned to coaching the following year as linebacker coach for the Patriots in 1980. It wasn’t that long thereafter before he returned to the Giants as their defensive coordinator and linebackers coach in 1981. He converted the defensive alignment to a 3-4 and succeeded Ray Perkins as HC in 1983. After a bumpy start and being on the hot seat, Parcells righted the ship and led the Giants back to the playoffs. In 1986 the Giants won their first Superbowl (XXI), as New York posted their best franchise record (14-2) led by their stellar defense and Phil Simms. The NFC East at the time was the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, the Cardinals, and the Washington Redskins. While the Cowboys were in a steep decline and the Cardinals were rarely a threat, the Giants had a rough and tumble time with both the Redskins and Eagles. It took another 4 years, but in 1990 the Giants returned to the Super Bowl (XXV) in a game considered to be one of the most exciting in NFL history. The Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 led by stellar defensive play and a plodding offense that soaked up the clock led by grizzled veteran RB Ottis Anderson. Parcells retired after the game, citing health reasons.
Briefly Bill did sportscasting with NBC from 1991-1992, but was chomping at the bit to return to the game. In this phase of his coaching career, Parcells became known as a rags to riches coach. He came in and immediately turned around the fortunes of the franchises he coached. It can be attributed to Parcells for fixing the Patriots, restoring the franchise to respectability, and beginning the dynasty that has lasted into today. He coached for the Patriots from 1993 to 1996, with the team appearing in Super Bowl XXI- a loss to the Green Bay Packers. The following season Bill joined the New York Jets thanks in part to disagreements with the Patriots owner Robert Kraft over front office decisions. The Jets had to pay the Patriots a king’s ransom in draft picks to get him in the end, but Bill proved to be worth the price, turning around the moribund Jets. (In 1998 the Jets finished with a 12-4 record but lost in the AFC Championship.) He retired again from coaching in 1999.
Jerry Jones was desperate to fix the Dallas Cowboys who were beginning to become the laughing stock of the NFC East. Three consecutive 5-11 seasons were enough for Jones to approach Parcells hat in hand to lure him out of retirement. Bill’s price for Jones was steep: Head coach and general manager and no interference from Jones. The year was 2003. As with his previous stops, Bill had the magic touch leading the Cowboys to the playoffs, but over the next few years, he just couldn’t get Dallas over the hump. Before the 2007 season, Bill retired for the 3rd time.
He briefly did studio analysis for ESPN, but was lured out of retirement for a 4th time by the Miami Dolphins into an executive role at the end of 2007. As in the past, Bill fixed the Dolphins, cutting fan favorites, signing stacks of cheap free agents, firing coaches, bringing back into the fold mercurial RB Ricky Williams, and Miami responded with an 11-5 record. He retired, presumably for a final time in 2010.
Bill has an extensive coaching tree, and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2013. He lives in Florida and does some volunteer consulting from time to time. Currently he is retired… or is he mulling another comeback?
W 183 L 138 T 1 PCT .570