Believe it or not, I was not excited about Super Bowl XXXV. Trust me when I say that I am a loyal football fan. But my lack of interest wasn?t soley because of the lack of talent on the two teams ? that was only part of the reason. Instead, it was my immense disgust at the politics involved in the world of professional sports.
As the New York Giants got ready to take on the Baltimore Ravens, I wasn?t laying down my final bets.
Instead, I was thinking about the Giants? former coach, Bill Parcells. The last time the Giants made a run for the Vince Lombardi Trophy and won was with Parcells in 1986 and 1990.
A year after leading the New York Jets to the AFC Championship in 1998, Parcells finally announced his retirement from the NFL in 1999.
But for how long?
Parcells has an extremely lousy track record. He left the Giants after the Super Bowl wins with an understanding that he was done coaching. Then he moved on to the New England Patriots, played with the team for a little bit and ditched them after their horrid Super Bowl appearance in 1996. What makes his decision to leave the Jets so special?
This was the central argument of the voting members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in cutting Parcells from the list of seven honorees this year. They questioned his decision?s credibility ? his obsessive passion for football had driven him back to coaching in the NFL again and again.
Their doubt that Parcells will remain retired was so deep-seated that, according to the New York Times, some committee members were unwilling to even consider Parcells for the honor.
Furthermore, the Parcells issue led the Hall of Fame voters to propose imposing a three-year waiting period before coaches can be nominated to the Hall.
?In the past when coaches retired, they were 60 years old. Now they?re burning out, recharging and coming back,? one voter told the New York Times last week. ?[The rule] is to guard against that. I think that?s perfectly fair.?
Sounds fair ? right? Definitely not. There is something wrong with the game plan and execution of this rule. The reason he isn?t going into the Hall isn?t due to a fumble or his inability to coach ? instead it was his inability to stay away from the sidelines. His love and loyalty for football is keeping him out of Canton.
Parcells is not my favorite guy. I am a dedicated Patriots fan. When Parcells traded the Patriots for the rival Jets, I was doing more than my fair share of ?Tuna? melting ? probably more than Patriots owner Bob Kraft himself. But despite his choices and his infamous bad temper, the man has truly earned my respect.
In his 15-year coaching career, he has coached for the Super Bowl trophy three times and succeeded twice.
He brought two teams out of the dumpster and rejuvenated both franchises ? not to mention the outlook on football in both cities.
There is no doubt that Bill Parcells is an amazing coach.
He brought teams together and kept them together. He was the scout who recruited talented running backs like Curtis Martin and gave young quarterbacks like Drew Bledsoe a chance to be one of the best.
His record is 138-100-1. Not many coaches can boast such a successful record ? especially taking the Jets from a 1-15 record to the AFC championship in two seasons. Parcells is a great coach ? one of the best, period.
Nice guys should finish first, but I think that a man?s skills and coaching record should be the things that are considered first for the highest honor in professional football.
The world of sports has become too political.
Cutting Parcells is an indictment of Parcells the person, not Parcells the coach. That, at the very least, is a travesty.