By Pat O'Rourke
“They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for the groceries.”
That line is one of the signature quotes from the ever-quotable football coach Bill Parcells, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame Saturday for a career in which he led five teams to the playoffs, four as a head coach, and one other as an executive.
One of those five teams Parcells coached to the playoffs was the New England Patriots. Taking the head coaching job in 1993, he led the Pats to the playoffs in 1994, ending an 8-year drought, then led them to their second Super Bowl in franchise history in 1996.
The Super Bowl, however, was overshadowed by a messy coach-owner divorce that was unfolding behind the scenes between Parcells and Patriots owner Robert Kraft. Parcells wanted more control of football decisions in the wake of the team using their first round pick in the 1996 NFL Draft on wide receiver Terry Glenn when he wanted to use it on a defensive lineman. This was followed by the drafting of Christian Peter, who was eventually released, to the objection of Parcells, for his history of violence with women.
The bombshell was dropped when Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough wrote that Parcells was leaving New England after Super Bowl XXXI. The Pats went on to lose the big game to Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers, and Parcells left for greener pastures with the New York Jets.
Looking back, Parcells regrets the way things ended in Foxboro. He talked about it with the Globe’s Dan Shaughnessy.
“I think retrospectively that we could have worked together and worked something out,” Parcells told Shaughnessy, which went public via his column in Friday’s Globe. “I had that opportunity and I didn’t do that and I regretted that. That’s one of the things that if I had a chance to do it over in my career, I would change it.”
Parcells coached 19 seasons in the NFL between the New York Giants, Patriots, Jets, and Dallas Cowboys, going an aggregate 172-130-1 between those stops, winning 11 playoff games and two Super Bowls.
In four years in New England, he was an even 32-32, leading the Patriots to playoff appearances in 1994 and 1996, going to the Super Bowl in the latter of the two seasons. Drew Bledsoe, Troy Brown, Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Ted Johnson, Teddy Bruschi, Lawyer Milloy, Curtis Martin, Chad Eaton, Otis Smith (first of two stints), and Adam Vinatieri all became Patriots under his watch.