Bill Parcells held a conference call with Patriots reporters this morning as he is one of three finalists for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this year (fan voting continues on Patriots.com).
Some of the highlights from this perspective:
His contribution to Patriots' rise. Parcells called the Patriots one of the "premier franchises -- top 3 or 4 in the league" and reflected on that rise in the last 15-16 years that included going from old Foxboro Stadium to the new Gillette Stadium. "Bill Belichick has done a tremendous job there, a remarkable job," he said. "It's a model for the teams in the league that are aspiring to do what the Patriots have already done. I don't really think I had a whole lot to do with that." Parcells did say he felt good about some of the players drafted in his time with the Patriots, mentioning Drew Bledsoe, Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Curtis Martin and Terry Glenn. He also added Adam Vinatieri. Take those players, and add them to the players already on the roster like Ben Coates, Bruce Armstrong, Sam Gash and Maurice Hurst and "that was the beginning of some personnel continuity. ... Some went on to be great players in Patriot history. I do take a sense of accomplishment in that."
Bucko Kilroy's impact. Parcells reflected on the late Bucko Kilroy, the longtime Patriots personnel executive who he bonded with in 1980 in his one year as linebackers coach. He credited Kilroy as one of the big influences in his career, putting him on the short list with three others. Kilroy helped Parcells establish a personnel philosophy, helped him better understand what needed to be done with the Patriots in 1993, and was "always a good friend."
Revisiting Bledsoe/Mirer in 1993. Parcells revisited having the No. 1 pick in the 1993 draft when the debate was whether to select Washington State quarterback Drew Bledsoe or Notre Dame's Rick Mirer. Bledsoe was younger (20) than Mirer (23), so the big question was where Bledsoe would be in three years. Bledsoe was "thrown to the wolves a bit and survived it." Parcells called him one of the key pieces in the franchise's resurgence. "I personally was very happy when we picked him."
Vinatieri and Brown. Parcells also singled out Vinatieri, noting that he was a player the team "just stumbled on" because of a friend Parcells had who was coaching in Europe. Parcells recalled that Vinatieri had kicked only 10 field goals in Europe, making nine, when the Patriots "kind of found out about him by good fortune." Parcells also told a similar story about Troy Brown, pointing out his good coaching friend Jim Donnan at Marshall told him he needed to check out Brown. "Sometimes you get lucky as well," Parcells said.
Coaching career is over. When asked if he is done coaching, Parcells said, "I'm done." He added that he's said it before, so it's safer to mark that in pencil, but then said: "I think I'm going to leave the NFL to someone else right now." Parcells, who added that this is the first time he's had extended time for himself and was in good health, was conducting the conference call from Jupiter, Florida, where he has a residence.
Same Florida complex as Bill Belichick. Parcells was complimentary of Bill Belichick when asked to rank him among the all-time great head coaches. "Put his name right up with anybody who has ever done it," he said, adding that any icy feelings between the two from the way things ended with the Jets in 2000 have since thawed. The two both have condos in the same Florida complex.
Don't forget Houston Antwine. Parcells was in the middle of an answer to a question on a different topic, when he re-routed the discussion to highlight one of this year's Patriots Hall of Fame nominees -- Houston Antwine (1961-71). "I saw him play quite a bit and he was really, really a tremendous player," Parcells said. "He's one of those guys who never got a lot of notoriety, but I can tell you first-hand, he was terrific."