AFC East: Jimm Johnson
|Doug Murray/Icon SMI|
|Under the Parcells regime, the Dolphins became the first team ever to go from winning a single game one year to being playoff-bound the next.|
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
DAVIE, Fla. -- The process began two days after Christmas 2007. A cataclysmic event took place at the Miami Dolphins facility. An observer arrived. He might as well have worn a black cloak and had a sickle in his grip.
He stood there, arms folded mostly, and watched from the sideline, taking mental notes that would decide the fate of dozens and alter the course of a franchise hurtling into NFL oblivion.
"I think the air in the practice field got a little thin," defensive end Vonnie Holliday said.
Bill Parcells had arrived to straighten out a team headed toward 1-15. He didn't say much on the field that day. He exchanged quick pleasantries with head coach Cam Cameron, spoke to a couple of trainers.
But the process had begun -- quietly, icily.
"Guys were nervous out there," Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter said.
Several Dolphins confessed they barked out their calls louder, ran faster and tackled harder under Parcells' surveillance.
A few veterans scoffed at the difference, claiming that if their teammates were playing harder just because Parcells was there, then they must not have been giving their all before.
Yet that, in fact, was the case, whether they wanted to admit it or not. Parcells' mere presence, forged by Super Bowls and high-profile turnarounds, whacked the Dolphins in their earholes.
He has remained virtually silent while overseeing the greatest single-season upgrade in NFL history.
On Sunday, one year and one day after Parcells first emerged onto the Dolphins practice field, they defeated the New York Jets at the Meadowlands to claim the AFC East championship.
As unfathomable as it seemed when Parcells agreed to renovate the dilapidated franchise, the Dolphins will host a playoff game next Sunday when they meet the Baltimore Ravens.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
New England Patriots
- The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports quarterback Tom Brady underwent surgery Monday to fix his injured left knee.
- Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian breaks down the Patriots-Chargers rivalry, which resumes Sunday night.
- Buffalo News reporter provides the no-update update on quarterback Trent Edwards and his concussion.
- Associated Press reporter John Wawrow writes Pro Bowl defensive end Aaron Schobel is battling a foot injury.
- Olean Times Herald sports editor Chuck Pollock places blame for Sunday's loss squarely on the defense.
- New York Times columnist William Rhoden says the Wildcat offense is waking gridiron ghosts.
- Miami Herald reporter David J. Neal writes the Dolphins are excited about establishing a more flattering identity.
- Palm Beach Post reporter Brian Biggane compares linebacker Matt Roth to former Dolfan favorite A.J. Duhe.
- Former Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson (of course he does) writes for FoxSports.com that the reason the Wildcat works is because Chad Pennington is no diva quarterback.
New York Jets
- Rich Cimini of the New York Daily News reports safety Eric Smith's appeal of his suspension and fine has been denied.
- Bergen Record reporter J.P. Pelzman warns the Jets can't afford to look too far along on their soft upcoming schedule.
- Want to see how Brett Favre lives? Or used to? His house in Wisconsin is on the block with a $475,000 asking price. How big of a spread do you think that would buy in the New York area?