By TomE. Curran
Bill Belichick's "Escape From New York" in early 2000 was nearly as messy as Bill Parcells' Foxboro flight three years earlier. The Jets, believing Belichick had agreed to become their head coach when Parcells retired, went bananas when Belichick refused the job, citing ownership instability. Parcells, who had stepped up into the front office, wasn't happy and Belichick - who was uninterested in having a Tuna peering over his shoulder with the Jets - didn't really care. But the dust has long since settled. In November of 2009, Belichick spoke to me of the huge respect he has for Parcells. Monday, during a conference call about his nomination for possible induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame, Parcells said of Belichick's place among coaching greats, "Well, theres no disputing that. Put him right up there at the top of the conversation with what hes done. Put his name up there with anyone thats ever done it." Parcells,inFlorida retirement (this time it'sfor good he said Monday), says that Belichick has a condo two floors above his in Jupiter, Florida."We see each other fromtime-to-time," Parcells explained. "We've had many conversations over the years. We worked together a long time, in the same office together for 12 years. You just can't dismiss things like that . . . He was a vital part of our organization. Hopefully I've been ahelp to him at some point. Hes a great coach. We get along just fine." Parcells was also asked his thoughts on putting a succession plan in place forquarterbacks, which is something New England has to think about with Tom Brady turning 34 soon. "You're on constant vigil to maintain continuity in that position," Parcells explained. "It's the premier position in the leage and it's vital . . . Any time you get into the 30s or mid 30s, youhave to start thinking about the next one.One Sunday, it can be over pretty quickly or skills can deteriorate quickly." Parcells added that he believes it's in the back of the Patriots' mind. Asked about the lockout, Parcells seemed ready to indicate he's got the owners' backs in this, saying, "I do understand ownership's position. Having been in a management position, understanding the economics," Parcells paused, then added, "And I can appreciate the players' (position) too. At the end of the day, we have a wonderful venue. America is very interested in it. It's been good to all of us. Hopefully it comes to a quick and good resolution." Parcells also said that, "I hear a lot of the same rhetoric I heard in (labor strife)1982 and '87. It's just different people saying it."
Parcells also credited longtime Patriots fixture Bucko Kilroy and former Patriots coach Mike Holovak as being two of the four greatest influences on his philosophy for coaching, evaluation, acquiring players and running a team. The other two were Ron Wolf and Al Davis. Parcells takes pride in the players the team brought in from 1993 through 1996 that were such indispensable parts of the Patriots' success in the early 2000s. Parcells also noted that Houston Antwine, the third nominee to the Patriots Hall this year, is a very underappreciated player. Parcells added that Antwine was "terrific."You can vote at Patriots.com for the 2011 Patriots Hall of Fame inductee by clicking right here.
Tom E. Curran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow Tom on Twitter at http:twitter.comtomecurran
By TomE. Curran