Bill Parcells' advice to Mike Zimmer

January, 19, 2014
Jan 19
2:05
PM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- After he was hired as the Minnesota Vikings' head coach on Wednesday, Mike Zimmer got a call from Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, for whom Zimmer had worked in Dallas. When Zimmer was Parcells' defensive coordinator with the Cowboys, Parcells made a habit of heading to Zimmer's adjacent office with points he wanted Zimmer to write down for when he was a head coach.

After congratulating Zimmer on Wednesday, Parcells gave him three more things to write down. Zimmer wouldn't share what those were with reporters after his introductory news conference on Friday, but according to ESPN NFL Insider Chris Mortensen, Parcells' three points were:

1. Your best friends will disappoint you.

2. Four or five things happen in pro football every day that you wish wouldn't happen. If you can't handle those, you need to get another job.

3. It's lonely.

As you can see, Parcells -- who became the first coach in NFL history to take four different teams to the playoffs -- didn't regale Zimmer with stories of his three Super Bowl appearances and two championships, or his ride to a rarefied place in NFL coaching history. He reminded Zimmer that he's about to take an enormous leap in responsibility, and while the accolades can be worth it in the long run, the most immediate difference Zimmer will see is just how much is out of his control. Zimmer seemed well aware this week of what he's about to take on, but there are probably some elements of the job he won't fully grasp until he gets into it.

In any case, it's interesting to hear Parcells' words to Zimmer, from a legendary coach to a new head coach, and what they reveal about the day-to-day nature at the top of the NFL.

Ben Goessling

ESPN Minnesota Vikings reporter

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