Parcells plans to rescue "America's Team"

Updated: June 20, 2003, 10:47 AM ET
By By Ryan Early
Bill Parcells' presence in Dallas is filled with contradictions. When he retired from the New York Jets as head coach and general manager, he declared that he would never coach again. Yet after flirting with the Buccaneers last year he is now back with the Cowboys. In his book The Final Season, Parcells talks about owner/operators, giving Cowboys owner Jerry Jones as one example, and says they are "hard to work with. They've got their own ideas." Now he's working for Jones. When he left the Patriots, Parcells uttered the now famous line "They want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries" to describe his need to be a team's general manager in charge of acquiring personnel as well as the head football coach. Yet when he agreed to coach the Cowboys, it was with the understanding that Jones would remain the general manager and the two would have to find a way to work together.

When asked about these contradictions, Parcells refuses to apologize for his previous statements or actions, making a comment along the lines of "that's what I thought at the time" or "that was then, this is now." While most observers questioned whether the pairing of Parcells and Jones would last a week, both men were ready for it to happen. Jones has been criticized for having head coaches viewed as lesser personalities, often ridiculed as puppets with Jones pulling the strings. No one would dare refer to the bull-headed and ego-driven Parcells in that manner. Parcells is 62 years old and has battled heart problems for the last 15 years. During that time he has frequently referred to coaching as "a profession that will kill you" because of the pressure and stress that is relentless through the season. Having a strong personality as the team's owner and general manager deflects a good portion of the attention and pressure from Parcells. Besides, the one thing we can all agree on when it comes to Parcells is that he rises to a challenge.

In the NFL right now, there is no greater combination of challenge and allure than the self-titled "America's Team." After three straight 5-11 seasons, the Cowboys finally lost the last star from their Super Bowl years when Emmitt Smith was released and moved on to Arizona. Now with the last gasp of attempting to hold on to the past gone, the franchise is ready for a new beginning. The thought of being the man to return to prominence the NFL's last dynasty was too tempting for Parcells to resist. While he has great facilities and a strong fan base, there are several obstacles he must overcome.