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File:Bill Parcells.jpg

A photo of Bill Parcells.

Bill Parcells
Personal Information
August 22 1941 (1941-08-22) (age 82) in Englewood, New Jersey
Alma Mater:
Wichita State
Career Information
former professional/collegiate football coach, general manager/team executive, sportscaster and commentator
Professional Teams:
As coach
Hastings (Linebackers Coach 1964)
Wichita State (Linebackers Coach 1965)
Army (Linebackers Coach 1966-1967)
Army (Defensive Coordinator 1968-1969)
Florida State (Linebackers Coach 1970-1972)
Vanderbilt (Linebackers Coach 1973-1974)
Texas Tech (Linebackers Coach 1975-1977)
Air Force Academy (Head Coach 1978)
New York Giants (Defensive Coordinator 1979)
New England Patriots (Linebackers Coach 1980)
New York Giants (Def. Coordinator/LB Coach 1981-1982)
New York Giants (Head Coach 1983-1990)
New England Patriots (Head Coach 1993-1996)
New York Jets (Head Coach 1997-1999)
Dallas Cowboys (Head Coach 2003-2006)
As executive
New York Jets (General Manager 1997-2000)
Miami Dolphins (VP of Operations 2008-2010)
Career Highlights
Best Record:
14-2, with the Super Bowl XXI Champion New York Giants (NFL) (1986)
Super Bowl Championships won:
2: 1986 (Super Bowl XXI) & 1990 Super Bowl XXV , as New York Giants head coach

Bill Parcells (born Duane Charles Parcells August 22, 1941 in Englewood, New Jersey)[1] is a former American football head coach and team executive, most recently with the Miami Dolphins as its Team President and VP of Football Operations. He is known as "The Big Tuna", a nickname derived from a team joke during his tenure as linebackers coach of the New York Giants.[2] Parcells won two Super Bowl rings with the New York Giants, in Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV. He announced his third retirement from football on January 22, 2007 before returning with the Dolphins in December of that year; in 2010, he resigned from the Dolphins job to return to sports broadcasting, which he has intermittently done between coaching and management jobs..

Early life[]

Parcells was born in Englewood, New Jersey, on August 22, 1941. His mother, Ida Parcells (née Naclerio), was a housewife and his father, Charles Parcells, was an FBI agent. He is of Irish and Italian descent.

Early career[]

Bill Parcells played high school football at River Dell Regional High School in Oradell, NJ (Bergen County, New Jersey). [3] He was a linebacker at the University of Wichita (now Wichita State) and was actually drafted by the Detroit Lions, although he was released before playing in a single NFL game. His assistant coaching jobs at the collegiate level were Hastings (1964), Wichita State (1965), Army (1966–69), Florida State (1970–72), Vanderbilt (1973–74), and Texas Tech (1975–77). He was also the head coach at Air Force (1978). Parcells was also a part-time assistant basketball coach for Bob Knight while the linebackers coach at Army (1966-67).

Professional coaching career[]

New York Giants[]

In 1979, Parcells joined the New York Giants as the defensive coordinator under Ray Perkins. In 1980, he left to join the New England Patriots as the linebackers coach under Ron Erhardt for one year before returning to the Giants as defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. When Perkins announced on December 15, 1982 that he was leaving the Giants at the end of the season to become head coach at the University of Alabama, the Giants announced that Parcells would succeed him as head coach.

When Parcells took over in 1983, the New York Giants were a team that had posted just one winning season in the previous ten years. In his first year, he made a controversial decision to bench Phil Simms in favor of Scott Brunner. The result was a disastrous 3–12–1 season during which the Giants seriously considered bringing in University of Miami head coach Howard Schnellenberger to replace Parcells.[4]

After this dismal first season, Parcells made Simms the starter again. The team's record improved to 9–7 and 10–6 over the next two years, and earned them their first back-to-back play-off appearances since 1961–1963. In 1986, he led the Giants to the first of two Super Bowls. In the 1986 season, the Giants compiled a franchise best 14-2 record and the first of three division titles. Parcells, whose stifling 3-4 defense (known as Big Blue) led by Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Harry Carson, and Leonard Marshall, and an offense under the direction of Phil Simms, knocked off the San Francisco 49ers 49–3, and the Washington Redskins 17–0, in the playoffs before routing the Denver Broncos, 39–20, in Super Bowl XXI. Parcells was the first coach to be dunked with Gatorade at the end of the game and at the end of a Super Bowl which led to a Super Bowl Gatorade dunking tradition.[5]

Following the Super Bowl win, Parcells was courted by the Atlanta Falcons to become the Head Coach and General Manager of the franchise. However NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle would not allow Parcells to break his contract with the Giants and he stayed in New York.[6]

Parcells led the Giants to a second Super Bowl in 1990. The Giants began the 1990 season 10–0, and finished 13–3, but lost Simms to injury late in the season. Playing with a back-up quarterback in Jeff Hostetler and a 33-year-old veteran running back in Ottis Anderson, the Giants overcame the Chicago Bears in the divisional playoff, 31–3, and won in dramatic, come-from-behind fashion over San Francisco, 15–13, in the NFC Championship on a last-second 41-yard field goal by Matt Bahr which was set-up by a Roger Craig fumble. Super Bowl XXV proved equally exciting as the Giants used tough defense, and a ball-control and power-running Erhardt - Perkins style offense to stop the Buffalo Bills, 20–19, whose own last-second 47-yard field goal attempt by Scott Norwood missed wide right. Parcells retired from football after Super Bowl XXV due to health problems. During his tenure, the Giants had secured three division titles (1986, 1989, 1990), had only two losing seasons (the Giants went 6–9 during the strike year of 1987) and tallied an 8–3 playoff record.

First retirement[]

Following retirement, Parcells spent time as a football analyst for NBC Sports from 1991–1992, working as a commentator. He also hosted a local sports show in New York with Mike Francesa entitled Around the NFL.

In 1992, Parcells made a handshake agreement to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At the last minute, Parcells opted not to take the job. Parcells did not feel the situation was right for him at that time. Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse said, "I feel like I've been jilted at the altar."[7]

New England Patriots[]

After a two-year hiatus, Parcells returned to the NFL in 1993 as the head coach for the New England Patriots. Within two years, he coached the team to a 10–6 record and its first playoff game in eight years. In 1996, he guided the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI but lost to the Green Bay Packers, 35–21, in New Orleans.

Parcells left the Patriots after disagreements with owner Robert Kraft; Parcells felt he did not have enough input in player personnel decisions. Upon his departure, Parcells famously stated: "If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." This was mainly in reference to an incident in the Patriots' war room during the 1996 Draft where Parcells, who wanted to draft a defensive player with their first-round choice, was vetoed by Kraft, and the Patriots selected Ohio State WR Terry Glenn.

New York Jets[]

Although Parcells had decided to leave New England, his contract did not allow him to coach anywhere else. The New York Jets sought Parcells to take over their football operation after a 4–28 record under Rich Kotite. To circumvent Parcells' contractual obligations, the Jets hired Bill Belichick (then the #1 assistant to Parcells) as the Jets coach, and Bill Parcells was hired by the Jets in an "advisory" role. New England threatened legal action against Parcells and the Jets, but NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue brokered a deal between the two sides, with New England releasing Parcells from his contract and the Jets giving New England a first round draft choice.


Parcells again instrumented a remarkable turnaround in their first year with the Jets. In his first season with the Jets, the team barely missed the playoffs with a record of 9–7. In 1998, the Jets went to the playoffs with a 12–4 record but lost to the eventual Super Bowl-champion Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship Game.


In 1999, expectations were high for the Jets to go to the Super Bowl. However, quarterback Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Jets home opener and the season went downhill from there. After starting the season 1–6, the Jets won 3 straight and faced the Indianapolis Colts. Parcells emphasized the importance of not obtaining a "7th loss" but they did lose to the Colts and then to the New York Giants the following week. At 4–8, the Jets were in danger of finishing below .500. Remarkably, the Jets would finish 8–8, but out of the playoffs. In 1999, Bill Parcells retired from football for the second time, vowing that he would not coach again. He remained with the Jets one more year as general manager.

Dallas Cowboys[]

Following three straight 5–11 seasons, Dallas Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones lured Bill Parcells out of retirement and made him the head coach in 2003. In his first season with the Cowboys, he led them to the playoffs with a 10–6 record (losing to the eventual NFC Champion Carolina Panthers in the opening round), thus making him the first head coach in NFL history to guide four different teams to the playoffs.


The 2004 season was one of turmoil. Starting quarterback Quincy Carter was terminated for alleged drug use in favor of 40-year-old veteran Vinny Testaverde, who had been brought to the Cowboys from the New York Jets by his former coach in the off-season. While a favorite of Coach Parcells, Testaverde proved ineffective as a starter. The Cowboys started strong, with victories against the Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins, but injuries, older personnel, spotty play calling, and persistent penalties hobbled the Cowboys, and they quickly fell off to a 3–5 record by midseason, finishing the season 10–6.


The Cowboys improved their defense before the 2005 season with the additions of first round draft picks Demarcus Ware and Marcus Spears. Parcells drafted these players in hopes of jump-starting the team's transition from the traditional 4-3 defense to a 3-4 defense, which Parcells had run in all of his previous stops. Jerry Jones also added a number of high-priced older veteran players, acquiring nose tackle Jason Ferguson and cornerback Anthony Henry via free agency, and linebacker Scott Fujita via the Kansas City Chiefs. On offense, the Cowboys felt the need to upgrade their passing game to complement their top 2004 draft pick, running back Julius Jones, and acquired quarterback Drew Bledsoe via free agency. During his tenure, Parcells made a point of signing players who had played for him in the past, including Bledsoe and Terry Glenn (with the Patriots), and Testaverde, cornerback Aaron Glenn, wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson and fullback Richie Anderson with the Jets. In 2005, the Cowboys went 9–7, missing the playoffs by one game.


In 2006 the Cowboys signed controversial former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. Keyshawn Johnson was released and signed with the Carolina Panthers. While Owens, whom Parcells never referred to by name, but rather as "The Player", has had his on and off-field issues, such as a murky drug overdose incident, the team was fairly successful with Owens on the field. In week 7 of the 2006 season, Parcells decided to replace veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe with fourth year quarterback Tony Romo. The Cowboys were 6–4 with Romo as the starter. They finished the season with a 9–7 overall record but failed to win the NFC East Division after a 23–7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Christmas Day in week 16 followed by a loss to the last-place team in the NFC North, the Detroit Lions in week 17. They were able to clinch a playoff berth as the 5th seed in the NFC, eventually losing 21–20 against the Seahawks in Seattle on January 6, on a botched hold by Tony Romo during a field goal attempt.

Parcells would finish his Dallas stint with a 34–32 record and no playoff wins.

Third retirement[]

Parcells would have entered the final year of his contract with the Cowboys in 2007, and had been facing questions all year as to whether he would return to the Cowboys to coach his final season. With his 0–2 playoff record over four years as coach of Dallas, many had begun to wonder if the game has simply "passed him by." Immediately following the Cowboys' loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Parcells said that he was unsure if he would return in 2007, and the rumors about Parcells's future escalated.

On January 9, the Newark Star Ledger reported through anonymous sources that Parcells had contacted the New York Giants about their available General Manager position, but the Giants are reportedly not interested in Parcells' services.[8] Parcells, the next day, quickly refuted any interest in the Giants GM position stating, "There is absolutely nothing to it. Whoever said it is a liar." [9]

On January 22, 2007 he announced his retirement as head coach of the Cowboys after 4 years, apparently ending his coaching career.[10]

Evidently, there are still questions as to his specific reasons for leaving the game. There were even reports that Parcells had been holding out for more money, and that Cowboys' owner Jerry Jones simply didn't think Parcell's performance was worth the money he was demanding for the upcoming season. [11]

After retiring from coaching, Parcells became a studio analyst for ESPN. This was his fourth stint with the network, having worked there before accepting the job in Dallas, where he coached both the Dallas Cowboys and a little league team for charity. It was rumored that ESPN offered him position on Monday Night Football, but Parcells declined the opportunity. (It is also worth noting that ESPN still held a contract with Parcells as a broadcaster even as he coached the Cowboys. Because of complicated business deals involving the NFL, EA Sports, and ESPN, his name was not mentioned in the Madden NFL series of games when he was Cowboys' coach. He was called only "Dallas Coach.")

Miami Dolphins[]

On December 19, 2007, the Miami Herald reported that Parcells had agreed to become the new Executive Vice President of Football Operations of the Miami Dolphins.[12] ESPN reported the following day that he signed a four year contract.[13] Just a day prior, reports linking Parcells to the Atlanta Falcons' position of vice president of football operations were leaked.[14] However, the following day the Falcons formally announced that Parcells had turned down the offer because of discussions with Miami.[15]

In the first season as Executive Vice President of Football Operations, Parcells fired head coach Cam Cameron, GM Randy Mueller, along with a few assistant coaches, after a 1–15 finish in the 2007 season. With vacancies at the GM and head coaching spots, he brought in Jeff Ireland to be the general manager and signed Tony Sparano as head coach.

The new front office under Parcells then signed over 20 little-known players in the free-agent market.

In the 2008 draft, they drafted offensive tackle Jake Long with the #1 overall pick, along with Phillip Merling, Kendall Langford, Chad Henne, Lex Hilliard, and Donald Thomas. They also signed undrafted free agents Dan Carpenter and Davone Bess.

They also released fan favorite Zach Thomas, who would end signing with the Dallas Cowboys, and traded star defensive end Jason Taylor to the Washington Redskins for a second round pick in the 2009 draft.

The Dolphins then went on to sign quarterback Chad Pennington (drafted by Parcells in his Jets days), who was cut by the Jets to make room for Brett Favre.[16]

The Dolphins finished the 2008 season 11–5 and became AFC East champions when Pennington and the Dolphins defeated Favre and the Jets in the final game of the season.[17] They finished with a 10 game improvement, tying the 2003 Indianapolis Colts for the best improvement ever. It was also the first time since 2001 the Dolphins made the playoffs. They lost in the first round to the Baltimore Ravens 27–9.

Head coaching record[]

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
NYG 1983 3 12 1 .219 5th in NFC East - - - -
NYG 1984 9 7 0 .562 2nd in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to San Francisco 49ers in NFC Divisional Game.
NYG 1985 10 6 0 .625 2nd in NFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to Chicago Bears in NFC Divisional Game.
NYG 1986 14 2 0 .875 1st in NFC East 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXI Champions.
NYG 1987 6 9 0 .400 5th in NFC East - - - -
NYG 1988 10 6 0 .625 2nd in NFC East - - - -
NYG 1989 12 4 0 .750 1st in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Los Angeles Rams in NFC Divisional Game.
NYG 1990 13 3 0 .812 1st in NFC East 3 0 1.000 Super Bowl XXV Champions.
NYG Total 77 49 1 .611 8 3 .727
NE 1993 5 11 0 .312 4th in AFC East - - - -
NE 1994 10 6 0 .625 2nd in AFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Cleveland Browns in AFC Wild-Card Game.
NE 1995 6 10 0 .375 4th in AFC East - - - -
NE 1996 11 5 0 .687 1st in AFC East 2 1 .667 Lost to Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXI.
NE Total 32 32 0 .500 2 2 .500
NYJ 1997 9 7 0 .562 3rd in AFC East - - - -
NYJ 1998 12 4 0 .750 1st in AFC East 1 1 .500 Lost to Denver Broncos in AFC Championship Game.
NYJ 1999 8 8 0 .500 4th in AFC East - - - -
NYJ Total 29 19 0 .604 1 1 .500
DAL 2003 10 6 0 .625 2nd in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Carolina Panthers in NFC Wild-Card Game.
DAL 2004 6 10 0 .375 3rd in NFC East - - - -
DAL 2005 9 7 0 .562 3rd in NFC East - - - -
DAL 2006 9 7 0 .562 2nd in NFC East 0 1 .000 Lost to Seattle Seahawks in NFC Wild-Card Game.
DAL Total 34 30 0 .531 0 2 .000
Total[18] 172 130 1 .569 11 8 .578

Coaching tree[]

Parcells has had extraordinary success in grooming his assistant coaches for eventual head coaching positions of their own. As of 2009, former Parcells assistants who are currently head coaches in either the NFL or the college ranks include:

In addition, his disciple Ray Handley served as head coach for the New York Giants from 1991 through 1992, and Al Groh and Chris Palmer served as head coaches of the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns, respectively, at one time.

Personal life[]

He has three daughters with his ex-wife Judy: Suzy, Jill and Dallas (Pioli), and three grandchildren. Scott Pioli, the current General Manager for the Kansas City Chiefs, is Parcells' son-in-law.

Notes and references[]

  1. Gutman, Bill (2000). Parcells: A Biography. Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc. Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
  2. Dan Manoyan (1997). Notes: Reporters keep pressure on Parcells. Journal Sentinel Online. Retrieved on 2008-03-08.
  3. Puma, Mike. Parcells made struggling franchises into winners, Accessed October 11, 2006. "When he entered River Dell High School in 1955, Parcells was one of the biggest kids in his class at 6-foot-2 and 180 pounds."
  4. Young Is Angry - New York Times
  5. How The Dunk Was Born - ESPN
  6. Report: Bill Parcells considering Falcons' VP of football operations post
  7. AP (2002-01-19). With Parcells, it's the same old song, different verse. Sports Illustrated. Retrieved on 2007-01-02.
  8. Giants: Say no thanks to Parcells. Newark Star-Ledger (2007-01-09). Retrieved on 2007-01-09.
  9. Parcells denies interest in Giants' GM job. MSNBC (2007-01-10). Retrieved on 2007-01-22.
  10. [1]
  11. - Writers - Money men (cont.) - Monday July 2, 2007 4:25PM
  12. Parcells accepts top job with Dolphins - 12/19/2007 -
  13. ESPN - Parcells signs four-year deal to head Dolphins' football operations - NFL
  14. ESPN - ESPN's Parcells likely to become vice president of Falcons - NFL
  15. | Atlanta, GA | Parcells Leaves Falcons At Altar
  16. The Tuna has reeled in a starting QB and some sizable Fish up front. The verdict: bigger, and a bit better. Sports Illustrated (2008-09-01). Retrieved on 2009-01-20.
  17. Pennington finds redemption in New York. (2008-12-28). Retrieved on 2009-01-20.
  18. Bill Parcells Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks -

See also[]

  • History of the New York Giants (1979-1993)

External links[]