Spoon and Swoon

IRVING, TX. -- Why can't I get out of a Bill Parcells press conference what other members of the media claim to garner? I'm looking for, you know, news. Other reporters, however, are looking for a dozen roses. They are looking for a nibble on the ear. They are looking for love.

In all the wrong places, I say.

My purpose in following Bill's press conferences? Gaining information about the Cowboys and maybe insight into the interesting person who happens to coach them. But other reporters? Well, according to old pal Jim Reeves, the veteran Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist, I'm missing out.

Some excerpts from Reevo's recent column on the sensual delights of a Parcells presser: "Big Bill can be so direct, so earnest in trying to answer a question, he can make it feel like it's just you and him. ... It's really a kind of dance. We try to lead this way, Big Bill resists and heads another. We want to waltz here, Big Bill boogies off over there. But then there are those special moments when we all but glide together, like Astaire and Rogers, in perfect lockstep through a series of questions and answers ... and that's when it feels as if it's just you and Big Bill. ... He looks everyone in the eye when he answers. No one wants to admit it, but there's no prouder moment for any of us than when Big Bill says, "That's a good question," and proceeds to reel off a detailed explanation that all but writes your story for you. I've actually seen reporters' eyes glaze over with pleasure after getting a "good question" response from Big Bill. Their day has been made. ... All of it was interesting to hear, because we were hearing it from Big Bill. ... It's about finally having a chance to have a little intimacy with Big Bill, to walk with him, elbow to elbow, all the way to the door of the coaches' offices. It's a chance to be a little more informal, to laugh and joke with him a bit."

My stars! I do believe I am blushing! Bill Parcells is quite the Gentleman Caller!

And that was written in the wake of a 6-10 season! Just think how cozy and snuggly we're all expected to be at this week's lovemaking sessions, given the afterglow of Sunday's thrilling 28-24 victory at San Diego!

All kidding aside -- and meaning no disrespect to Reevo -- but. ... ARE YOU FRIGGIN' KIDDING ME!?

I can say with absolute certainty that I:

a) have NEVER felt flattered because an interview subject looked me in the eye (and always assumed the person was a liar if he didn't);

b) could give a flyin' flip if a football coach acknowledges me by name; and

c) would already have assumed my question was a good one and therefore wouldn't feel the need to have it affirmed by anyone (except maybe when I was at Richard S. Gordon Elementary, in Mrs. Theissen's third-grade class).

Is this the reason so little information is broken nowadays? Because we're too busy making goo-goo eyes at the coach? Because Parcells has the media under his love spell? Because we all are aflutter in man crushness?

Hey, we don't all have to emulate the Rams exec who left a phone message recently with a St. Louis newspaper guy threatening to not just back-stab but to "thrat-slash.'' I can be friendly with my interview subjects. I can even be real friends. When I worked as a daily beat writer on the Broncos, then the 49ers, and then the Cowboys, it was quite natural to develop real relationships with other people in the building -- even if they happened to be players and coaches. You were, in a real very sense, simply working at the next cubicle over, and you were shoulder-to-shoulder with them seven days a week.

But Bill Parcells is not anybody's friend here.

Reevo writes something about Parcells admiring Star-Telegram writer Jen Floyd's "pluck and moxie'' and her new "hairdo.'' You believe Parcells gives two spits about a beat writer's 'do?

Wanna bet?

Parcells is a control freak. He conducts these press conferences in order to prevent the media from acquiring information from elsewhere in the organization. This reduces leaks and confusion -- and very important to the coach, even the PERCEPTION of confusion. That's what a control freak does.

Parcells is a manipulator. He conducts these press conferences in order to control not just the flow of information, but also to control the people who are charged with digging for said information. And he is a master at this. As interesting as he can be, as entertaining as he can be, his main purpose in expressing interest in my new hairdo is to flatter me, to get me on his side, to "buy'' me with kindness. If it makes his job easier, he'll admire my pluck, my moxie, my hairdo, my "good question.'' He might even call me by name!

This isn't a relationship; it's a puppet show, and Bill is pulling everyone's strings.

Parcells is NOT, however, your lovah.

I view the Parcells press conference, and my participation in it, as being a conduit to the Cowboys stockholder, i.e., the fan. You know, YOU! I know that because you have passion for the Cowboys like few others. You monitor the press conferences. You take notes on them. And then you rush here to discuss them. So tell me: Do you want information and observations? Or do you want swooning and spooning?

After this win, there are noteworthy issues to be discussed about the San Diego game. Most will have a justifiably positive spin: Drew Bledsoe's crisp play in the clutch. The emergence of Patrick Crayton. Keyshawn Johnson's turn-in-on appearance. The coaches' confidence in the 3-4, and in blitzing out of it with the game on the line. The controlling of LaDanian Tomlinson. The shut-down work of Anthony Henry.

But while we're at it, in our sweetest voices, we will also poke around the questions at the center position, discuss failed kickoff coverage and probe around about the upcoming Redskins game, right?

Dear media: If this is now the accepted press-conference approach, let's do it right: let's all sip some Aspi-Spumante (on the rocks). Let's light some candles. Let's run Big Bill a hot bath. Oysters. Chocolates. Whipped cream. Spin softly some Nat King Cole on the record player. Let's swoon and then spoon.

But please, media, if this is your approach and your goal? Before you allow yourselves to fall into "a little intimacy with Big Bill'' -- whether it follows an impressive success like this one in San Diego or the inevitable crushing failure -- make sure y'all never enter a Parcells press conference without wearing protection.

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