AFC East: Bill Parcells

Bill Parcells Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsBill Parcells is a candidate for the Patriots Hall of Fame for the third time in four years.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Bill Parcells has a coveted gold jacket as a class of 2013 inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It’s the jacket that matters most.

But here in New England, the debate about whether he should be fitted for the traditional red jacket given to those inducted to the Patriots Hall of Fame rages on. It's the highest honor handed out by the franchise and includes a spot in a sparkling shrine created in 2008 by the owner with whom he once clashed, Robert Kraft.

For the third time in four years, Parcells has been voted among the three finalists by a committee of 20 media, Patriots staff and alumni. (This reporter is part of the committee.) Parcells’ fate will now be determined by a fan vote on the team’s official website that continues through mid-May.

My hunch is that Parcells, the team’s head coach from 1993 to 1996, will again fall short.

In his first year of eligibility, 2011, he lost out to quarterback Drew Bledsoe, his first draft pick upon arriving in New England (No. 1 overall).

The next year, Parcells was edged out by one of the team’s most popular all-time players, receiver Troy Brown, who was also part of Parcells’ first draft class (eighth round).

In 2013, Parcells wasn’t even a finalist, but it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. No one was going to beat out linebacker Tedy Bruschi, who was a third-round pick in Parcells’ final year as coach.

This year, it’s going to be hard to top cornerback Ty Law, who, like Bledsoe, Brown and Bruschi before him, is now in his first eligible year and was also a Parcells draft pick (1995 first round). Law looks like the favorite among this year’s finalists, a group that, in addition to Parcells, includes cornerback Raymond Clayborn (1977-89).

[+] EnlargeKraft/Parcells
Jim Davis/The Boston Globe/Getty ImagesBill Parcells and Robert Kraft had "domestic misunderstandings," according to Parcells.
Parcells’ candidacy is polarizing, which pretty much sums up his time here.

Some swear by him, forever indebted to his role in reviving a franchise that had fallen on hard times (2-14 the previous year) and was a flight risk to possibly relocate. Parcells was hired by then-owner James Orthwein in 1993 and brought immediate credibility, professionalism and hope upon his arrival. By his second year the Patriots were in the playoffs. By the fourth year they had reached Super Bowl.

Others swear at Parcells, unable to forgive the way he left the franchise and where he ultimately wound up coaching next -- the hated New York Jets. He lost some of his clout to make personnel decisions, which sparked this unforgettable quote: “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." His departure as coach was a significant and distracting storyline before the Super Bowl XXXI loss to the Green Bay Packers.

To some, that alone makes his candidacy for the team’s Hall of Fame a non-starter, not to mention he was here for such a short time.

This writer, who arrived on the beat the year after Parcells departed, is more forgiving. I’m a supporter of Parcells’ candidacy.

One of the reasons is the recent list of inductees -- Bledsoe, Brown and Bruschi, and now with Law as the projected favorite this year. If Parcells wasn’t the coach, they might have never been Patriots in the first place. Their presence in the Hall traces back in part to Parcells’ tenure and what it represented at the time: a foundation of excellence that is carried on today.

I’d even go as far as to say that if Parcells didn’t coach in New England, Bill Belichick might never have been hired as head coach in 2000. We’ve all heard the stories about how Kraft and Belichick struck up a friendship in 1996, the year Parcells hired Belichick as an assistant in New England. That ultimately led Kraft to hire Belichick four years later when he decided to move on from Pete Carroll (Kraft’s track record on coaching hires looks pretty good today), and the three Super Bowls won in 2001, 2003 and 2004 had a lot of Parcells' flavor in terms of the players on the field and the coaches on the sideline.

But more than all that, I remember what life as a Patriots fan was like in the years before Parcells arrived. And what his arrival sparked: a region’s passion for football ignited, the Super Bowl-winning coach with credentials giving New Englanders a reason to jump on board and believe better days were ahead. They were.

Then there’s also this: Parcells is good enough for the Pro Football Hall of Fame but not the Patriots Hall of Fame?

When Parcells was a finalist for the first time in 2011, he said he wasn’t aware the team even had a Hall of Fame and expressed regret for some of his “domestic misunderstandings” with Kraft (who had purchased the team in 1994) that he added were later resolved. I’ve wondered about that.

How would Kraft really feel if Parcells was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame? And how would Parcells feel about coming back to New England to accept the honor?

I hope it happens. It would be a compelling storyline, but more than that, I think it would be well deserved.

CANTON, Ohio -- Bill Parcells' day at the Hall of Fame got off to an unexpected start.

Former pupil Bill Belichick made the trip to Canton to support his mentor, despite their frosty relationship in recent years. The two even shared a somewhat awkward embrace. It was that kind of historic day in Canton to mend fences.

Parcells wasn’t the easiest coach to play for or -- as Belichick would attest -- coach under. But Parcells was one of the all-time great coaches and talent evaluators. That rare combination led Parcells to become the only coach inducted in the 2013 Hall of Fame class.

“Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups,” Parcells said, echoing a quote from Hall of Fame safety Emlen Tunnell. “But winners assemble as a team, and tonight I get to do just that."

Parcells was known for turning franchises around. He led the New York Giants and New England Patriots to Super Bowl appearances. Parcells also led the Dallas Cowboys and Miami Dolphins (as president) to winning seasons. He spent much of his time explaining his dynamics of building a team with accountability, and also thanked many of the people who helped him become successful.

But an underrated part of Parcells’ legacy is his talented coaching tree. Three Super Bowl-winning coaches (Belichick, Sean Payton and Tom Coughlin) learned how to coach under Parcells. Coughlin and Belichick, in particular, were both in attendance and will someday join Parcells in the Hall of Fame.

Parcells did things his way, and most of the time he was right. The results speak for themselves.
CANTON, Ohio -- It has been a banner 2013 for the Baltimore Ravens.

First, the Ravens won their second Super Bowl in franchise history in February. Then, future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis retired as a champion at the top of the NFL ladder.

Ogden
Ogden
On Saturday, Baltimore’s landmark calendar year continued as former left tackle Jonathan Ogden became the first homegrown Raven to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Not only was Ogden a first-round pick, but he was the Ravens’ first pick in franchise history in 1996.

Ogden helped lift the Ravens to where they are today. He put a bow on his 12-year football career Saturday by also becoming the first player enshrined of the 2013 class.

“I just really want to thank the fans and the city of Baltimore,” Ogden said Saturday. “When I came to the Ravens in 1996, we had no team, we had no history. We didn’t even have team colors. We just had a name. … The Ravens were new to everybody.”

Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome introduced Ogden. According to Newsome, who is one of the NFL's top talent evaluators, Ogden played left tackle as good or better than player in history. Newsome said the keys were Ogden’s immense size and the feet of a defensive back.

Ogden reached 11 Pro Bowls in 12 seasons and won a Super Bowl. He was drafted in the first round in 1996 along with Lewis, who was in attendance and will surely follow Ogden to Canton in five years.

Odgen began his speech Saturday with a joke. He mentioned how former running back and draft bust Lawrence Phillips was also being considered by the Ravens with their first ever pick.

As Ogden mentioned, Baltimore made the right choice and the rest was NFL history.
CANTON, Ohio -- The NFL's 2013 Hall of Fame enshrinement is about one hour away. It appears the weather will cooperate for this year’s speeches, which is set for 7 p.m. ET.

The temperature in Canton is in the mid-70s with clear skies. That will cool off some during the night, but there doesn’t appear to be much chance for rain. Occasionally, Hall of Fame weather can be unpredictable with this outdoor venue.

The crowd is filling in at Fawcett Stadium to hear the speeches of Jonathan Ogden, Dave Robinson, Larry Allen, Bill Parcells, Curley Culp, Warren Sapp and Cris Carter. Don't forget to join me at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.com for a live chat from Canton.
CANTON, Ohio -- The 2013 Hall of Fame is set to begin at 7 p.m. ET Saturday. It should be a nostalgic and emotional night as the NFL celebrates another deep and talented Hall of Fame class.

Here is the order of tonight’s enshrinement speeches:
  • Jonathan Ogden
  • Dave Robinson
  • Larry Allen
  • Bill Parcells
  • Curley Culp
  • Warren Sapp
  • Cris Carter

Enjoy the speeches, and remember to join ESPN.com at 7 p.m. ET for our live Hall of Fame chat during the enshrinement.

Links: Parcells reflects on Jets, Dolphins

July, 18, 2013
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Buffalo Bills

T.J. Graham, Robert Woods and Brad Smith are all in contention for the No. 2 role behind wide receiver Stevie Johnson, who tells the team's official website: "The competition is going to be crazy because of the talent that we have."

ESPN.com's projected quarterback rankings has Kevin Kolb positioned at No. 31 and EJ Manuel right behind at No. 32 overall.

Miami Dolphins

“I’m excited for all the new weapons we’ve brought in,” said second-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill in response to a fan's question. During the same conference call Wednesday evening, the Miami Herald reports Tannehill reminded fans that he likely will never be another Robert Griffin III. "I don’t think we’re going to rely heavily on my feet. ... I don’t think it’ll be a pillar of our offense." See video of Tannehill answering questions.

Running back Lamar Miller tells the team's official website that in his second year, he's "down with the playbook" and he expects Tannehill to have a breakout season.

Bill Parcells claims he brought more talent to the Dolphins, but regrets some of the decisions he made as the team's top football executive, writes Omar Kelly of the Sun-Sentinel.

"Miami is a bit short on reliable fantasy options going into the season, but that presents the opportunity for sleepers here," reports Eric Mack of Sports Illustrated.

Former NFL quarterback Daunte Culpepper, who purchased a South Florida house when he was signed by the Dolphins in 2006, has lost the home to a bank in a foreclosure case.

New England Patriots

Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, now a murder suspect, has been pulled from yet another group of products, reports ESPN's Darren Rovell.

As with cornerback Ras-I Dowling, Marquice Cole's chances of securing a roster spot will be impacted by the availability of Alfonzo Dennard, writes ESPNBoston.com's Mike Rodak.

Speaking of corners, Patriots Football Weekly argues for which player they'd rather have on the field: Dowling or Cole.

The Patriots will be one of eight NFL teams to take part in a pilot program during the 2013 season in which a player's entire medical record will be available for team doctors to examine on the sideline of a game via the use of an iPad, reports Field Yates of ESPNBoston.com.

Christopher Price, of WEEI.com, breaks down the Patriots' linebackers for 2013.

New York Jets

Bill Parcells said he believes his best coaching performance occurred in an 8-8 season -- 1999, his final year as the Jets' coach, according to Rick Cimini of ESPNNewYork.com. "Holding that team together to accomplish that, I think probably was one of the better things. That wasn't any monumental success or anything, but I think most coaches will tell you, when you start 1-6, it's tough to maintain the things you need to be successful," said Parcells.

Jeff Cumberland has a chance to establish himself as a legitimate starting tight end, but how will the new guy, Kellen Winslow, factor into the Jets' offense?
Bill Parcells, who is a member of the 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, told USA Today that the one regret in his standout career was leaving the New England Patriots. According to Parcells, if he could do it all over again, he would have stayed in New England after the 1996 season and continued working for owner Robert Kraft after losing to the Green Bay Packers in the Super Bowl.

It's interesting to think what could have been had Parcells stayed with the Patriots longer. Here are several things to consider:
  • Would there have been a Patriots dynasty in the early 2000s? Parcells was definitely on to something in '96. In typical Parcells fashion, he turned a downtrodden New England franchise into a winner and eventual AFC champion before Parcells and Kraft stopped seeing eye to eye. That caused Parcells to split, and New England went on to hire two coaches: Pete Carroll and Bill Belichick. Carroll was a decent 27-21 in three seasons in New England but could never get the team back to the big game. But things took off once Belichick was hired. Five Super Bowl appearances and three championships later, Belichick is still New England's coach in 2013. Belichick was the assistant head coach and secondary coach in New England during Parcells’ final season with the Patriots. Had Parcells stayed, Belichick might have been groomed to be the Patriots' head coach in waiting. Or another team could have called sooner and offered Belichick a head-coaching job elsewhere. Without Belichick, there would be no Patriots dynasty.
  • Would Parcells have switched from Drew Bledsoe to Tom Brady? Bledsoe was Parcells' quarterback, and the two made it to the Super Bowl together in '96. If Parcells were still coaching the team five years later, would he have had the same foresight to stick with Brady after Bledsoe got injured? Belichick made one of the gutsiest calls in NFL history in 2001 to stay with an unknown, sixth-round pick over a former Pro Bowler. The result was New England winning the first of three Super Bowl titles with Brady, who went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time. Parcells had a stronger connection to Bledsoe than Belichick ever did, so the right decision would have been more difficult for Parcells to make. It's even questionable that New England would have drafted Brady in the first place if Parcells were still running the Patriots. Speaking of which ...
  • How would keeping Parcells impact New England’s drafts? One of the reasons Parcells is being inducted into the Hall of Fame is he was one of the rare people who can both coach and evaluate talent at a very high level. But the Patriots also built their dynasty through the draft with Belichick. It started at the top with Brady, the greatest value pick ever, and continued with homegrown talents such as Richard Seymour, Matt Light, Asante Samuel and Vince Wilfork. Maybe New England's rosters would have been just as stout with Parcells calling the shots. But that’s asking a lot.

Overall, things worked out best for the Patriots. They had a few slightly above-average years with Carroll, then hit a home run with Belichick, who also will someday be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

There is little doubt that Parcells would have continued his success in New England. But could he match Belichick’s five Super Bowl appearances and three titles with the Patriots? Probably not.
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ESPN.com continued its in-depth ranking of all-time NFL coaches Wednesday, and No. 7 on the list is New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

While a No. 7 ranking is definitely solid -- especially when Belichick is ranked ahead of other greats such as Tom Landry, Joe Gibbs and his mentor Bill Parcells -- it's hard not to avoid the elephant in the room.

Would Belichick be rated higher if not for Sypgate?

There are some who believe Belichick is among the top five coaches of all-time. He won three Super Bowls in four years with the Patriots, which represents the last modern dynasty in the NFL. Belichick also qualified for two additional Super Bowls, and both were close losses to the New York Giants. Belichick is establishing a consistency at a time when free agency is rampant, player contracts and egos are high, and it’s extremely tough to keep teams together for more than three or four years. Most coaches on ESPN.com's top 20 list did not have to work under today's circumstances.

But despite five Super Bowl appearances and three championships as head coach in New England, Spygate remains an ugly part of Belichick’s legacy. The illegal videotaping scandal resulted in NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fining Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and cost New England its 2008 first-round pick. It’s also something that has followed Belichick and the Patriots since and still has an impact on their reputation today.

The most prevalent thing you hear from critics of the Patriots and Belichick is they've never won a title after Spygate. That is 100-percent correct. But New England remains very successful.

The best thing Belichick can do for his legacy and ranking among all-time coaches is win one more title, post-Spygate, before he retires. A fourth title could put the controversy to bed and catapult Belichick into the elite of the elite among NFL coaches.
Perhaps no one coach or front-office executive left a bigger footprint in the AFC East than Bill Parcells. The 2013 Hall of Fame entrant had high-ranking positions with three of the four franchises in the division. His success at various places earned Parcells the No. 11 spot on ESPN.com's all-time NFL coaching list.

Parcells was a rare breed in the NFL, because he was both a very good coach and talent evaluator. That combination made him famous for quickly turning teams around, and he did it successfully during stints with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

[+] EnlargeBill Parcells
US Presswire file photoBill Parcells was 32-32 in four seasons in New England, getting the Patriots to the Super Bowl during his final year with the team.
Parcells began his stint in the AFC East as head coach of the Patriots. After taking three years off from coaching, Parcells came to Foxborough in 1993 when New England was a franchise down in the dumps. The Patriots were 19-61 the previous five seasons before Parcells arrived and he quickly established a winning mentality. He led New England to the playoffs twice and lost in the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers in 1996, which was his final season with the Patriots. In many ways, Parcells jump-started New England’s current run of success that is still going today with head coach Bill Belichick, who is a former Parcells pupil.

In 1997 Parcells continued his AFC East tour with the New York Jets. He went 29-19 in three years with the Jets and never had a losing season. Parcells retired again from coaching in 1999.

Parcells’ final stint in the division was in 2008 as Vice President of the Miami Dolphins. Former owner Wayne Huizenga paid Parcells a lot of money to run and oversee the team. Parcells' magic touch impacted Miami in the first year when the Dolphins went from a 1-15 team in 2007 to a 11-5 team and won the AFC East in 2008. The Dolphins tied the record for biggest one-year turnaround in NFL history.

But things went downhill for Parcells in Miami after his first season. The Dolphins never made the playoffs again during his tenure. After struggles and an ownership change, Parcells choose to step down and hand the keys over to current general manager Jeff Ireland. Parcells is known just as much in Miami for bailing on the Dolphins when things got rough as he is for the historic turnaround when he first arrived.

Still, Parcells’ impact on the entire AFC East is unmatched. He experienced success at three places in the division, which proved it was better to have Parcells on your team than to face him as an opponent.
The new-look Miami Dolphins, who made major upgrades in free agency, will be among the first teams to take the field in 2013. The Dolphins will kick off the NFL preseason against the Dallas Cowboys in the Hall of Fame Game on August 4, the NFL announced.

The Dolphins created a buzz last week by signing big-name free agents such as receiver Mike Wallace, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe and tight end Dustin Keller. Miami has played in the Hall of Fame Game three previous times and has an 0-3 record.

This game celebrates the 2013 Hall of Fame class, which includes Larry Allen, Bill Parcells, Cris Carter, Warren Sapp, Jonathan Ogden, Dave Robinson and Curley Culp.
It has been an ongoing debate in South Florida since the 2008 NFL draft.

The Miami Dolphins and former president Bill Parcells held the No. 1 overall pick and took left tackle Jake Long over quarterback Matt Ryan, who went to the Atlanta Falcons at No. 3. Miami chose a quarterback in the second round, which turned out to be Chad Henne.

Many questioned for years if Long and Henne were the way to go over Ryan, and Long's recent departure from Miami brings this debate back to the forefront. Combining Long's exit with Henne being a draft bust confirms the Dolphins made the wrong decision.

Long was an elite player in Miami during his first three years. However, his play and durability dropped significantly the past two seasons. Meanwhile, Ryan has been a franchise cornerstone in Atlanta his entire tenure and will have a long career.

Quarterback and left tackle are arguably the two most important positions on the field. But if you have to choose between the two, you always fill the bigger need at quarterback.

The Dolphins paid dearly for the Henne mistake. Former head coach Tony Sparano was fired in 2011, and Miami also had to take a quarterback in the first round in 2012 with Ryan Tannehill. None of that would have taken place had Miami selected Ryan over Long. Ryan is a franchise quarterback Miami could have built its team around. He's never had a losing season in Atlanta and already led the Falcons to four playoff appearances.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins are still trying to recover from their disastrous decisions in the 2008 draft. Long was the No. 1 overall pick and the final member of that draft class remaining on the Dolphins' roster -- and now he's gone.
Robert Kraft made a lot of smart moves as New England Patriots owner. But one of first and best decisions was to hire 2013 Hall of Famer Bill Parcells.

On Saturday, Kraft offered his thoughts on Parcells' induction:
"Congratulations to Coach Parcells on his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is well deserved. As a Patriots fan, I will always appreciate the credibility he brought to our franchise as a two-time Super Bowl champion. We had never had a head coach with those credentials. I am very happy for Bill and look forward to his enshrinement ceremonies."
The Miami Dolphins were the last team 2013 Hall of Famer Bill Parcells worked for. He led the Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year as team president in 2008. But Parcells decided to leave early partly due to an ownership change during his tenure.

Still, Dolphins owner Stephen Ross was one of the first to publicly congratulate Parcells on his Hall of Fame selection Saturday evening, in a statement released by the team.

“I want to congratulate Bill Parcells on his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Ross said. “He had his own unique style in building a successful organization and instilled a winning mindset at all levels as both a coach and executive. While he might have had different levels of success at each of the teams he worked for, he always left each franchise far better off than how he found it.”

Miami general manager Jeff Ireland, who was an understudy of Parcells', also weighed in.

“I want to congratulate Bill on being selected to the NFL's highest honor ... the Hall of Fame,” Ireland said. “His contributions to the game and to people in the game are countless. Having worked with him, I saw firsthand the philosophy and culture he espoused that made him so successful, and like so many others before me, I continue to use many of those principles to build a winning team. I learned a great deal from him, and it has been a true pleasure working alongside such an iconic and legendary man.”

Parcells spent time with three teams in the AFC East: the Dolphins, New York Jets and New England Patriots. As Ross mentioned, Parcells had a way of making all his teams better than when he arrived.
"The Tuna" is heading to Canton, Ohio.

After three years of missing the cut, former coach Bill Parcells was voted into the 2013 Hall of Fame class. He will join a distinguished modern-era group that includes Jonathan Ogden, Cris Carter, Warren Sapp and Larry Allen. Dave Robinson and Curley Culp are two additional entrants not from the modern era.

Parcells is best known for changing the fortunes of franchises. He won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants. Parcells also got the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl. In his NFL swan song, Parcells led the Miami Dolphins to the playoffs in his first year as team president in 2008.

He was a rarity in that he could both recognize talent as good as any general manager and coach them up on the field. Many have tried that approach and failed.

The news was good for Parcells, but not good for fellow AFC East representative Andre Reed. The former Buffalo Bills receiver was passed over as a finalist for the seventh time.

Reed's Hall of Fame window might be closing. We are in the era of high-volume passing in the NFL, and soon there will be more and more receivers coming down the pipe with off-the-chart numbers. Terrell Owens, Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss, when he retires, are three that immediately come to mind.

The more time that goes by, the less impressive Reed's numbers from the 1980s and 1990s will appear.

While Parcells celebrates Saturday, Reed has to look ahead to another tough year of waiting for a Hall of Fame call.

Morning take: Kraft wants Wes Welker

February, 2, 2013
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Here are the most interesting stories Saturday in the AFC East:
  • New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft wants Pro Bowl receiver Wes Welker back on the team.
Morning take: This is good news for Welker. Last year, the team refused to give Welker a big-money extension and opted instead for the franchise tag. This year, the franchise tag could be off the table if the Patriots don’t want to pay $11.4 million. Maybe an extension gets done.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired former Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt to run their special teams.
Morning take: I don’t think many Bills fans are sad about this. Wannstedt wasn't very good as Buffalo's defensive coordinator, despite having some talent to work with.
Morning take: That would certainly make things interesting for Miami. The Dolphins are trying not to overpay to keep any of their players. But if Hartline gets a nice offer elsewhere, that could force Miami to pay more than it wanted or let Hartline walk.
Morning take: It’s a pretty deep class this year. Parcells could be one of the people fighting for the final spot or two. We will have more Hall of Fame coverage Saturday evening when the names are announced.

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