Sports Outside the Beltway

Fire Bill Parcells?

Randy Galloway, a longtime columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, says it’s Time for Parcells to Go.

This was the Cowboys as of mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve: Gutless, confused, incompetent, and the biggest joke to make the NFL playoffs since, well, the New York Giants weaseled their way in the day before. With something still to play for, the Cowboys couldn’t overcome the two-win Detroit Lions, who blew the first pick in next April’s draft by out-hearting the Valley Ranch amoeba 39-31.

First reaction: Fire the coach. Parcells must go.

But then Big Bill walked into the Texas Stadium interview room, took the podium, and the more he talked, the more he sounded like a guy who was ready to resign on the spot. Parcells seemed totally bottomed-out when it came to answers. If you had fired him right then, it’d be a favor.

OK, it’s his mess. Let the man suffer for another week.

Bill Parcells Photo Time to Fire Him? New year. New season. And the first round of the playoffs will find the Cowboys in Seattle on Saturday night. Parcells indicated he’d make the trip, but all bets are officially off on him being back for next season. “I can’t tell you how disappointed I am,” Bill said, and then later repeated. “This is a low point for me, the lowest in a long time.”

Not exactly a playoff pep talk, but then again, why should it be?

“I certainly take it personal,” Parcells added. “This is my life. This is what I’ve been doing all these years.”

What his teams have done here, however, is also the lowest point of that long career. Four years of failure, that can now only be rescued by some miracle of biblical proportions starting Saturday in Seattle.

But based on the current evidence, this is a team that has quit on Parcells. Tuned him out completely. It happens when a head coach allows a double standard in being the hard-butt on all players except one. And that one, the biggest fool of all, he “handled” him by attempting to ignore him since Oxnard.

Along the way, however, what can’t be ignored is how the 17-week season has totally unraveled. The defense, never as good as advertised, reached joke status in December, and a new low on Sunday. Those 39 points by the Lions, who do have a dangerous offense, meant 152 points have been hung on the Cowboys during the final month of the season. The Sunday loss meant in Parcells’ four seasons here, the Cowboys have, like clock-work, dropped three of the final five games, all of those 12 L’s except one coming in December.

This latest debacle against the Lions, Dave Campo would have been gone by sundown. Chan Gailey by dinner. But Parcells apparently will be in Seattle with a defense that is suddenly so bad it’s baffling.

In a bleak postgame scene, there was, however, one reassuring voice heard. Jerry Jones, who was in severe depression following the Christmas Day loss to the Eagles, attempted this time to bring in the sunshine and the daffodils. “I look at the positives,” he said. “At our good health as a team. At the play of the quarterback at times out there. I refuse to be in a negative frame of mind going into the playoffs. Let’s go win a game. Maybe two games.”

Firing a head coach, especially one with Parcells’ record of past achievement, is difficult.

It’s undeniable, though, that this team is playing far below its talent level. They are undisciplined. Unmotivated. The play calling is dubious. Some of that has to fall on the head coach.

Four years is a long time in the NFL. John Fox turned Carolina around in two years. Sean Payton has done it in one with the Saints. Parcells has had his way on personnel decisions, picking a succession of five starting quarterbacks (Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, Drew Henson, Drew Bledsoe, and now Tony Romo) in his four years. He got rid of almost all the holdovers from the Dave Campo era, replacing them with His Guys. The defense has been totally revamped into his favored 3-4.

It hasn’t worked. They’ve gone 10-6, 6-10, 9-7, and 9-7 in his four seasons. And, as Rick Gosselin points out, “Dallas has lost its regular-season finale all four of those seasons, including the last two at Texas Stadium.”

This year, when it appeared that they had suddenly found the answer at quarterback in Romo, they collapsed down the stretch, losing critical games. Four weeks ago, with a first round bye and home field advantage on the line, the got embarrassed AT HOME by the New Orleans Saints. Last week, with the NFC East crown and at least one home playoff game on the line, they got blown out by the injury-riddled Philadelphia Eagles AT HOME. And yesterday’s performance–again, AT HOME– against the lowly Detroit Lions, a team with every incentive to lose–was simply pathetic.

Firing Bill Parcells, a guy who was considered a sure-fire Hall of Famer when he came to town–is a radical step and one that shouldn’t be made out of the frustration of the moment. But if the team is embarrassed again at Seattle, it’s time.

The man has cooked the dinner and bought just about all the groceries. I wouldn’t feed it to the dogs.

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

There is no denying that the team has taken a nose-dive in the last three weeks–especially the defense.

However, if (and it is a big if, I will grant) they win on Saturday, a lot of this talk will subside.

Part of me thinks it is time for a change, and part of me wonders what we would get next. Sure, if we could get Charlie Weiss or someone like that, I would be more enthused with the possibility. However, it isn’t as if Jerry’s coach hiring acumen has been all the swift, on balance.

Further, a change could get you a Sean Payton, or it could get you a Tom Coughlin, or some other coach who doesn’t do any better with the team than did the previous regime.

And while you make a point about Fox, look at his team this year, as it, too, has played below expectations.

Posted by Steven Taylor | January 1, 2007 | 12:47 pm | Permalink

RSS feed for these comments.

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.