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Sunday, November 8, 2009
A peek behind the Bill Parcells curtain


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Drivers in the Fort Lauderdale area should keep their eyes peeled for a homeless man in a Philadelphia Eagles hat. Rest assured, South Florida reporters will be on the prowl for him.

Bill Parcells supposedly talks football with this guy more than he has with the media in the two years he's been in charge of the Miami Dolphins.

Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy wrote a column about the "Man Behind The Curtain in Miami" and mentioned Parcells' dispossessed buddy. Parcells, on his drive to the Dolphins' facility in Davie, Fla., purportedly brings the guy the newspaper every morning on 17th Street near the causeway.

But the bulk of Shaughnessy's column is about Parcells' history of turning around downtrodden franchises. Compared to past rebuilding projects, Parcells hides in his spider hole and speaks to the media less often than Fidel Castro.
"I've spent limited time with him," Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told Shaughnessy. Dee is former CEO of the Boston Red Sox. "But in the time I have known him, I have found him to be everything you would expect -- smart, experienced, with great insight. An iconic figure. He's a very tall tree in a forest of tall trees.

"The Dolphins hold a high place in this community. In the last six or seven years, they had fallen on hard times. Them going 1-15 was the equivalent of the Red Sox going 70-92 and finishing 22 games behind the Yankees.

"Bill's arrival, and what he stands for, immediately gave optimism to the marketplace. Even with the 0-3 start this year, fans are not panicking. He brings a level of credibility that things are going to turn around. It goes way beyond the X's and O's."