Bill Parcells has retired from the Dallas Cowboys and football again. So where does this leave the Cowboys? Jimmy Johnson?
Update: I found this on SI.com from Peter King –
I called Bill Parcells on Saturday to say something I don’t often say to anyone I cover. In fact, I don’t remember ever saying it in 23 years covering the NFL.
“I really want you to coach one more year,” I said to Parcells, whom I’m known since 1985, when I moved to New York to cover the Giants for Newsday. “You’ve got a quarterback you love, and you’re having fun. I’d really love to be around that a little bit for one more year.”
“Maybe,” he said. “You know, football’s a powerful mistress, but the commitment is … Well, it’s a lot. Can you give what you know it’ll take for 12 months? That’s the question. These January-to-January deals are a pretty big undertaking. We’ll see. But I don’t think there’ll be any shame if I say I can’t do it anymore.”
Decision time was near because the Senior Bowl was approaching, and that’s where NFL coaches who are not in the Super Bowl go to watch players and prepare for April’s draft. If Parcells was going to coach the Cowboys in 2007, Monday, at the latest, was the day he’d have to let everyone know what his plans were.
The other night, NFL Network aired one of the shows NFL Films has done about the best Super Bowl teams of all time. Parcells was in rare form through the show, chiding Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms in old NFL Films footage, throwing out the kind of barbs that have made him famous, and listening to Simms say that not a day goes by that he doesn’t bring up a Parcellsism, in some way or other. That’s what made me pick up the phone and say what I said to Parcells.
I guess I should have known when he said “I don’t think there’ll be any shame if I say I can’t do it anymore.” But I thought the lure of Tony Romo would reel him back in, because he really likes the kid’s potential, and he likes being around his vitality. I was wrong.
When Parcells decided with certainty in the last 48 hours that he couldn’t do it, he told owner Jerry Jones, in effect, that he didn’t think he could muster up the 12 months of effort needed to get to that point where Dallas was a couple of weeks ago — on the verge of winning a playoff game with a chip-shot field goal. That chip-shot field goal went awry. And Parcells, 65, realized for him to go back to the grind would mean starting today in Mobile, Ala., and going right to free-agency when he got back, and then to the scouting combine, and then to draft trips and draft meetings, and then the draft, and then to mini-camps and off-season practices.
Parcells is at the point in his life where six weeks off a year just isn’t enough, particularly when he lives 1,400 miles from the part of the world he loves the most — the New Jersey/New England/Upstate New York area. The football demands on his time are too great.
“It’s time,” he said Monday afternoon from his office at Valley Ranch. “It’s a young man’s game. I’m in good health, but it’s time to give someone else a chance. I’m looking forward to whatever life has in store for me, and right now I have no idea what that is.”
He loves baseball; his spring vacation was always two weeks at spring training, watching the Cardinals every day. He admires Tony LaRussa and once told him he’d actually like to go on the road with the team and see how the baseball life is compared to football life. He loves the horses; he had a retirement home built in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., a couple of miles from the famed racecourse.
He said today he’ll never coach again. But I would never say never with him, not after the times he’s come back after saying he’d never come back again. Remember the powerful-mistress stuff. And ask his former players. The guy always did love money, and someone might make him an offer he can’t refuse a year or two down the road in this silly league. I must stress how unlikely that is, but you know coaches.
Parcells retires with two Super Bowl titles with the Giants, an AFC Championship with New England and the ninth-most career wins in NFL history (183). He’s the only coach to take four NFL franchises to the playoffs. And though his final go-round with the Cowboys was disappointing (34-30 in the regular season, 0-2 in the playoffs), he leaves them with a quarterback of the future in Romo and some defensive-foundation pieces from recent drafts.
Pretty irascible guy. Pretty memorable one too.