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5/09/2005

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Parcells Guys Editorial

Why Can’t Bill Parcells Coach Past 2006?

Cowboy’s fans have heard time after time that Bill Parcells will not be with the team after his contract expires in 2006. Here’s the problem, neither Jerry Jones nor Bill Parcells has ever made this statement. The media just assumes that Parcells signed a four-year contract and if he doesn’t win a Super Bowl in that time frame he will simply walk away from the Cowboys. I think this is a rather poor assumption.

The one issue always mentioned when people spoke about Coach Parcells past retirements was the idea he may un-retire at some point in time. The game of football is Bill Parcells passion in life. He has accomplished enough things in the NFL that if he retired today, his name would still be mentioned in the “best coach ever” conversations.

Coach Parcells didn’t come back to the game in 2003 to earn more money or because he liked the scalding Texas heat in August. This man loves his job. He loves being around the players and coaches. Coach Parcells and Jerry Jones have grown to respect each other more and more as they discover each of them desire many of the same goals for this football team. I think all of these variables will be the same at the end of the 2006 season as they are today. A clean bill of health, plus some success in 2005 and 2006 will leave Coach Parcells with no other choice but to stay with Cowboys as their head coach.

Some of you are saying that he is going to be 65 years old heading into the 2006 season. So what? There have been numerous coaches who have coached at that age in the NFL, many of them having very successful teams. I will give you one example. Marv Levy took over the Buffalo Bills head coaching position in 1986 at the age of 61. He led the Bills to four Super Bowls as their head coach. Levy was a lifer in the football world just like Coach Parcells. He retired in 1998 at the age of 72 after leading the Bills to eight playoff appearances in 11 seasons. If the Cowboys and Coach Parcells can duplicate those numbers in that amount of time us fans should consider ourselves lucky. Do not forget the three years before Bill Parcells; the team was 5-11 in each of those seasons. Ouch!

Now I know there are two parties involved in deciding who coaches the Cowboys. So it isn’t entirely up to Coach Parcells if he indeed did want to continue coaching past the 2006 season. Jerry Jones also has a say in the matter. Jones came into the NFL in 1989 with deep pockets and a brash college coach, Jimmy Johnson. After two Super Bowl victories Johnson had enough reasons to move on in his career. The Cowboys did win another Super Bowl, but that victory for then head coach Barry Switzer will always have an asterisk. All of the players making up the 1995 team were Johnson’s guys. Plus most of the playbook never changed after Jimmy left town. Beginning in 1996 the Cowboys began a downward descent which most of us fans weren’t sure would ever end. Jerry had discarded Switzer by 1998 and hired guys he could control from the owner’s box during games. Chan Gailey in 1998 and Dave Campo in 2000. These guys were pawns and we should thank our lucky stars Jones realized after the 2002 season he needed a coach with some NFL pedigree to turn this thing around. Enter Coach Parcells and his three Super Bowl appearances. So far the Cowboys have had one great year and one terrible year under Parcells, but at least the rest of the NFL once again respects the franchise. Jerry Jones is no dummy. He knows as long as Coach Parcells is in Dallas there will be players willing to come here and the opportunity to win games will be very real for the Cowboys.

I must admit the idea of Coach Parcells leaving after 2006 was planted in my brain as a matter of fact. But that all changed after listening to Jerry’s comments last week on Espn Radio’s Dan Patrick show. He said that Coach Parcells looked rejuvenated after bringing in some talented new player via the draft and free agency. Now I think Jerry would love to have Coach Parcells back after 2006. I think in some way Jerry has learned that being an owner in the NFL is his thing, being a coach in the NFL is not. Jerry shows his passion for the Cowboys day in and day out so we know he will do all he can to keep the Cowboys in the elite class of NFL teams. I hope Jerry and Bill decide to run this team together for a long, long time.


Barring any health issues I think Coach Parcells does sign a contract extension one day, maybe for another four years. Hopefully by then he will be heading into training camp as a three or four time Super Bowl winning coach. Go Cowboys!

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