But I am troubled at being right about coach Bill Parcells' lack of devotion to the cause. I've been cautioning Cowboys fans about this since Parcells' arrival in Dallas four years ago, when it was pointed out to me that he wasn't developing any relationships in the community, wasn't lending his name to a local charity, wasn't building a house here, wasn't doing anything to signify that the confirmed "Jersey Guy'' planned to root himself to North Texas.
And then came every single offseason since, which are always lowlighted by the headlines wondering whether Parcells will return to the Cowboys, headlines wondering whether maybe Jerry Jones is the "bad guy'' who will have to assemble the greatest Slip-Pink Receivers List of All-Time (Landry and Johnson and Parcells!). ... and then two ensuing headlines, the one where Jerry issues unflagging support for his selfish coach, and then the one where the selfish coach somehow manipulates himself into a fat, undeserved raise.
And now, as you know, it is happening again. Parcells has until Feb. 1 to decide if he is:
1) Honoring the terms of his existing one-year contract and coming back to the Cowboys to finish the job he was hired to do. (This would call for InfalliBill to actually be "honorable,'' so I don't hold my breath.)
2) Lifting his skirt to other franchises, just to see if he can con anyone else into giving him $5 mil or so -- while, undoubtedly, also walking away with millions of Mr. Jones' money.
3) Waddling into Back-East retirement, his pet pussycat under one arm and his racetrack tout sheet under the other.
4) Going to be honest enough to admit that he's had a GM return to the Giants on his mind for some time -- maybe for some time we humans call "December,'' a time when his club collasped, falling from being a Super Bowl favorite to being a team that lost four of its last five.
Regarding Point No. 4: Considering the fact that Parcells spends the end of every season wondering if he should quit the Cowboys, is it any surprise that his four-year record in December/January is among the very worst in all of football?
Again, I've written this stuff for four years. I wrote about it at the beginning of 2006 training camp in Oxnard, when I hoped Bill's lame-duckiness could somehow be used as a tool:
Is Bill Parcells In This For The Long Haul? Conventional wisdom says that "will-our-coach-be-back?'' issues generally serve as a distraction. (It might have even done so at the end of the last season.) Parcells is bright enough to turn this negative into a positive: "Win One For The Tuna!'' might be his December-and-beyond battlecry. It will be a test of these players' loyalty to Parcells. ...
And I wrote about it at the end of the 2006 season, on Jan 1, 2007, when I made fun of Parcells calling football "a powerful mistress,'' urging that maybe for 20 million bucks he oughta look at the Cowboys like a wife.
"Why risk even the hint of an uncertain future, thus creating a distraction, if not for the purpose of frightening his owner into yet another raise? ... If coach Bill Parcells is occupying his time as the Cowboys leader by contemplating ANYTHING but how to beat the Lions, and now contemplating ANYTHING but how to win his first-round playoff game in Seattle, can you understand how Cowboys followers -- that is, the players -- might fall into the same trap of distractions? ... (He's) constantly threatening to quit? .... Parcells must re-engage The Dallas Cowboys Football Club in a marriage -- and quit acting as if it's a one-night stand.''
Kids, this ain't my first rodeo. I was the lowly newspaper beat writer who, back in 1993, broke the story of Jimmy Johnson's in-season flirtation with the Jacksonville Jaguars. New franchise owner Wayne Weaver had phoned Jimmy at the beginning of Week 16, as the Cowboys were supposed to be preparing for the all-important final game against the Giants. Weaver's intent was to ask Jimmy to endorse as a head coaching candidate Dallas assistant Norv Turner; by the time the conversation was done, Jimmy had "cockblocked'' his way past Norv and was instead a top name on Jacksonville's radar.
I told a pissed-off Jimmy I knew about his distraction action. I told a pissed-off Jerry. I wrote the story, complete with their quotes (and with quotes from players like Ken Norton, none too happy about their coach's hypocrisy). Soon after that, of course, Jimmy's deceit and Jones' anger over having been betrayed caused the end of their relationship.
I'm not predicting the same result is about to happen now. I'm just saying that this is a business in which disloyalty and selfishness and distractions are the cancers that cause good teams to turn bad. I'm just saying that it's hard to tell a player to run through a wall for you when you yourself won't even break into a jog.
And I'm just saying, "I told you so.''
An "I Told You So'' About Bill
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