With a career record of 172-130-1 and two Super Bowl victories, Bill Parcells will go down as one of the better head coaches in modern time. Famous for his gruff demeanor and no nonsense approach, Parcells was routinely either loved or hated by his players.
Bill Parcells finished his football playing days as a linebacker for Wichita State University back when it was known as the University of Wichita. He then immediately proceeded to the coaching ranks. Parcells had a long career as a college assistant, having spent time at: Hastings, Wichita State, Army, Florida State, Vanderbilt, and Texas Tech before becoming the head coach at Air Force.
Ray Perkins was the head coach of the New York Giants in 1979 when they hired Bill to be the defensive coordinator. This lasted exactly one year before he left to become the Patriots linebackers coach, this position also lasted one year and in 1981 Bill returned to the Giants as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Head coach Perkins announced in 1982 that he was leaving the Giants to become the coach at the University of Alabama and the Giants announced that Parcells would succeed him.
Parcells start with the Giants was rocky at best when they went 3-12-1 in his first season after controversially benching quarterback Phil Simms in favor of backup Scott Brunner. The following season Parcells returned Simms to the starting quarterback position and the Giants improved dramatically. In 1986, his fourth as head coach of the Giants, Bill Parcells led the team to a franchise best record of 14-2 and a victory in Super Bowl XXI over the Denver Broncos. The Giants would go on to win another Super Bowl following the 1990 season when they defeated the Buffalo Bills while utilizing a backup quarterback (Jeff Hostetler) and a 33-year-old veteran running back who had been rumored to have been long past his prime (Ottis Anderson).
Following Super Bowl XXV, Parcells retired and took a job as a studio analyst for NFL games with NBC. In 1992, Parcells agreed to become head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but then changed his mind and backed out of the verbal commitment. He would be lured to the sidelines again in 1993 when he became head coach of the New England Patriots who had fallen on tough times as a franchise. Four seasons later Parcells had the Patriots in the Super Bowl where they lost to the Green Bay Packers. Due to differences with Patriots owner Robert Kraft, Parcells would leave the Patriots following that year.
Without taking a year off, and after a compensation deal was worked out by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue, Parcells became the coach of the New York Jets in 1997. The woeful Jets had an immediate turnaround and in his second year with the team they made it all the way to the AFC Championship Game before losing to the eventual Super Bowl champions the Denver Broncos. Following an injury marred 1999 season, Parcells retired from coaching but would stay on one more year as General Manager of the Jets.
After spending four years analyzing football from a network studio position, Jerry Jones lured Parcells out of retirement to coach the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas had suffered through three consecutive 5-11 seasons and in their first season with Bill Parcells at the helm the team went 10-6, making the playoffs before losing to the eventual NFC Champions Carolina Panthers. In his four seasons with the Cowboys, the team would make the playoffs twice. Parcells was responsible for drafting and signing some of the young talent that would go on to excel after he left the team following the 2006 season.
After leaving the Cowboys, Parcells returned for a fourth stint with ESPN before accepting a position as Executive Vice-President of Football Operations with the Miami Dolphins during the 2007 season.
Bill Parcells leaves a large legacy in the NFL and this is illustrated by the number of his former assistants that have gone on to be NFL head coaches in their own right: Bill Belichick, Ray Handley, Eric Mangini, Al Groh, Tom Coughlin, Sean Payton, Romeo Crennel, and Chris Palmer. Not to mention others who have coached in the college ranks.
Two Super Bowl Championships, the only coach to lead four NFL teams to the playoffs, an 11-8 playoff record, and more. Bill Parcells will definitely go down as one of the all-time greats.