Carthon is a Parcells Disciple

Cowboys offensive coordinator Maurice Carthon, who played for Bill Parcells with the Giants and coached under him with the Patriots and the Jets, is a walking testament to Parcells' philosophy on football, his relationships with players and coaches and his unique (direct) way of dealing with people.

So it's no surprise he is the most animated coach at Cowboys practice, often throwing his play chart in disgust and spewing a litany of profanity-laced invectives at his offending prey.

"I don't realize what I say out there to be honest with you," Carthon said. "Of course, Bill used to say that all the time. I remember a Monday night game. He and Phil (Simms) got into it and they were cursing. My mother called and said, 'I can't believe coach Parcells talked like that'. He said Mo tell your mother I'm sorry because I didn't realize what I was saying. So I don't realize what I am saying there."

Actually, Carthon knows exactly what he's doing. He can't help it.

Parcells raised him as a player and then groomed him in his own image as a coach.

Parcells' trust in this veritable prodigal son is why Carthon has been put in charge of turning the Cowboys' stagnant offense around, despite having limited success as the coordinator of the league's 28th-ranked unit in Detroit last season.

"This isn't something that just happened last week," Parcells said. "I have known him for 19 years. He's like one of my own kids. I loved him when he was a player. I knew I always wanted to bring him with me if I continued coaching. He wasn't the easiest guy to coach. He's a hardheaded little sucker. We have had plenty of battles. But there's something about him. I just like him."

There's also nobody like him on Parcells' illustrious coaching tree -- not Al Groh, not Bill Belichick, not Romeo Crennell, not Charlie Weiss and not Tom Coughlin.

None of those esteemed coaches were groomed personally by Parcells from the playing level to the coaching level.

"As any guy that would be bringing someone along in his own profession, I have had the opportunity to sit with him and advise him," Parcells said.

"We have had lengthy discussions on how the hell to do this the right way. He has also had the experience of witnessing it as a player and from a coaching viewpoint in a couple of different places. Not counting Detroit -- I don't count that -- this will be his fourth rebuilding deal. He's seen it go from the bottom to the Super Bowl. He knows what we know."

The genesis of the father-son, teacher-pupil, mentor-mentee coaching relationship began in the locker room at Giants Stadium.

Carthon, who played fullback alongside Herschel Walker for the USFL New Jersey Generals before joining the Giants in 1985, was notorious for arriving to the stadium several hours before the game.

"I would get to the stadium at about 7:30 am (for a 1 p.m. game) and Bill would already be there," Carthon said. "We would sit there and talk for hours. It was the same thing the week in practice. He would sit in my locker. I got a lot of flack for it as a player. All the players thought I was the snitcher, so guys didn't want to hang out with me."

Locker room perceptions changed about Carthon when his relationship with Parcells "saved a few guys jobs."

But those conversations, which included discussions about basketball, sports trivia and finances resulted in Carthon telling Parcells he wanted to get into coaching one day.

"I said I wanted to go back to Arkansas and coach high school," Carthon said. "He said don't do that. If you have a chance to coach in the pros, then go there. Once I retired, he called me and I have been doing it ever since."

In 1994, Carthon started out as an offensive assistant who helped out with special teams and fullbacks. The next year he was promoted to running backs coach, where his one job was finding out if running back Curtis Martin was worthy of being the Patriots' top pick. Carthon is strongly tied to the development of Martin, now with the Jets, into being one of the league's top backs.

In 1997, he followed Parcells to the Jets, where he also served as the assistant head coach in 2000. Carthon joined the Lions in 2001 after Parcells retired from football.

Once Parcells got back into coaching with the Cowboys, there was never any question about Carthon coming here as well.

"I am proud of where I am," Carthon said. "I owe a lot of it to Bill and to other coaches who helped prepare me to get me where I am. Why not be with this guy? Bill gets results. He is loyal to guys that are loyal to him. He is great to play for and work for."

Carthon said the biggest difference in Dallas is that he is the only coach on the staff who has worked under Parcells before. So it's his job to prepare them for life under Parcells, who Carthon said is much tougher on coaches than players.

"I give them as much advice as I can to save them from the pitfalls," he said. "When he says he wants something in the game plan, he wants to see it. But he is consistent. He doesn't change in the way he is and how he is. He believes in something. He believes in it strongly. There is an old saying that 'everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die'. Football coaches are like that. But you can tell the guys that love football. He loves it and he is passionate about it. Why would you not want to be with someone like that?"

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