Rob Phillips has the transcript of Bill Parcells’ interview Thursday with New York’s WFAN radio, reflecting back on his career and his time with the Cowboys. A few excerpts that struck me as particularly noteworthy below. They’re in order but several segments of the interview are skipped.
Did your relationship with Cowboys owner-general manager Jerry Jones or wide receiver Terrell Owens factor into your decision?
Parcells: No. I’ll answer a couple parts of that. To the contrary, Jerry Jones and I . . . actually he’s asked me to stay here an extra week to help with the transition. We have a good relationship. He’s been great to me. I think very highly of him and I’ve enjoyed very much my experience working in this organization. And quite frankly, I’ve learned a lot about another way to do business. And it’s an interesting thing and I think I’ve benefited from that experience. But I think at the end of the day this was a mental thing. Physically I know I can do it, but it’s a 12-month job. Really, it’s a 13-month job. There are really no days where you can relax. I’m just at the point mentally where you just don’t want to undertake it again because you know what you have to do. It’s another off-season, draft, mini-camp, training camp, preseason, regular season, just to kick that field goal against Seattle again. I just mentally wasn’t up for it right now.
Did it seem like too much was made of your relationship with Owens?
Parcells: Well, when you get a player on your team, no matter who he is or what he is, as a coach it’s your job to try to utilize that player and your job to try to make it work. And that’s what I tried to do. I tried to make it work as best I could. It wasn’t without a few little things here and there but it never was anything that I felt was insurmountable, or we never had to draw a line in the sand. He did the best he could in his way and I tried to help the best I could and use him the best I could. Now, it wasn’t perfect, but that’s the way it was and it wasn’t as problematic as it was portrayed.
Did quarterback Tony Romo experience too much success too soon?
Parcells: You know, I think you had to be here to witness it. You guys being 1,500 miles away or 2,000 – it was way worse here than it probably was nationally. I don’t know that. I just think that it’s difficult for any player who hasn’t had the experience before to go through it totally smoothly. I think he did the best he could, but I think the last two or three weeks of the season and particularly that last game may serve him well in the future in that regard. Because he’s been at the pinnacle almost already, going to the Pro Bowl. And then he’s been pretty far down in the dumps very quickly. So he’s kind of made the whole cycle and I think it’ll probably serve him well in the future.”
What have you talked to Romo about since the season ended?
Parcells: I’ve spoken with Tony twice, probably once for 45 (minutes) face to face and then probably two days ago for about 15 or 20 minutes. And all I spoke with him about was what I felt like he needed to do in the future. I told him, I said, ‘If you don’t do certain things, that you’re going to fail. And if you do do them, I think you have a high probability of succeeding.’ I felt like I owed that to him because it probably was going to be my last coaching conversation with him. So I kind of listed the things I thought he needed to do and to work on and to make sure that he paid attention to. Because if you look at his numbers, they’re darn good. But there’s some things there that are kind of hidden and he needs to address those. And I think if he does, I think he’s got a chance to be pretty good.
Can players be coached the same way you coached 10 years ago?
Parcells: That’s a hard one. I think there are more peripheral people around the players now than 10-15 years ago. They’re feeding them the cheese left and right. They have an inflated opinion; they come with more inflated opinions of themselves generally. Not all, but generally you get these kids. The draft has become a cottage industry. The recruiting process for agents is another industry. They’ve had attention. It’s like the young basketball player that’s 6-10 when he’s 16 years old and he’s been spoiled ever since he was a teenager. You’re getting a little of that coming into the league. But by and large the kids I think are still pretty highly motivated. I think you can coach them pretty well. I just think the peripheral issues are a little more difficult than they used to be. And of course the salary cap – that’s no excuse for anything, everybody’s on an even ground there – but that is a little constraining from time to time.
Parcells: Hey, I think what he’s done is remarkable. It’s not about being a better coach. We were together 18 or I don’t know how many years, a lot – 18 I think, some number like that. I have a high regard for him and contrary to a lot of publicity, we have a real good relationship. We talk frequently. And I’m proud of what he’s done and what he’s done is remarkable. It’s among the best performances in the history of this league.
Some argue that you never won a Super Bowl without Belichick on your staff. Does that bother you?
Parcells: Doesn’t bother me. We were together a long time. We did a lot of good things together. I think philosophically we’re still on par with what we do. I think we believe in the same things, and like I said, we did a lot of good things together. And I’m proud that he’s gone forward, as I am of a lot of other guys that have been part of the tribe of coaches that we’ve had. There’s a lot of them around the league now. There’s some of them in college football. And that makes me very proud.
Were you surprised by Sean Payton’s success in New Orleans?
Parcells: Well I think you had to be surprised. That was another remarkable thing that was accomplished by Sean. He did a great job and I’m happy for him. I don’t wish bad things on those people that have spent a lot of time with me and worked hard for me. I’m happy with their success. That’s a good thing.
Thoughts on your relationship with Jerry Jones?
Parcells: He’s a very interesting guy. I’ve learned a lot from being around him. I’ve learned a lot about the business acumen of running a pro franchise. It was much different than the approaches taken in other franchises that I worked for. But I have a good personal relationship with him. He’s been very kind to me. And I’ve enjoyed being here in Dallas very, very much. The weather’s good, the Cowboys are important and it’s really a storied franchise. It really is.
Is Jones different because he’s more daring?
Parcells: Oh yeah, he’s definitely a risk-reward guy. There’s no doubt about it. I think he’s willing to take risks and take chances. They don’t always work out, but some of them do. And I learned a little different approach, and really it’s been fun. We were just in here laughing this afternoon about things and talking about the future, and I’m trying the best I can to help him with that. I’ll be very interested and I’m anxious to see what the Cowboys do and look forward to good things for them.
He seems like a different man with the burden of the NFL grind off him. I do believe that this will be his last coaching stop, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a consultant of some sort.
My sense is that the Cowboys are a much more talented team than when he arrived in town and, aside from wide receiver and offensive line, a much younger team. Maybe Jerry will invite him to sit in the owner’s box if his successor takes them to the Super Bowl.
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