Post-Parcells: Confident or Conned?

IRVING, Texas -- Do you feel confident? Or conned? At 10:52 a.m. Monday, Jan. 22, 2007, the Cowboys sent out the following email (all bolds and italics are theirs):

TO: All Media
FR: Rich Dalrymple, Dallas Cowboys Public Relations Director
RE: Bill Parcells resignation

Please review the statement from Bill Parcells regarding his future. Please be advised that Coach Parcells will not be conducting any press conference today, and is not planning any media briefings in the near future.

A quote from Jerry Jones will be released later today. Media access to Mr. Jones or any other members of the organization is yet to be determined.

All other updates will be provided through the Cowboys regular e-mail distribution.

Statement from Bill Parcells
"I am retiring from coaching football. I want to thank Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones for their tremendous support over the last four years. Also, the players, my coaching staff and others in the support group who have done so much to help. Dallas is a great city and the Cowboys are an integral part of it. I am hopeful that they are able to go forward from here.

"I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time. I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard. "

Which leaves you with. ... which? The feeling of confidence? Or the feeling of being conned?

Do you feel more confident about the Cowboys? After all, in Parcells' four years, he did solidify the young talent base (Romo, Jones, Barber, Newman, James, Carpenter, Ware, Canty, Spears) and he did qualify for the playoffs twice.

Or do you feel conned? After all, his allegiance to "Parcells Guys'' may have kept Romo in the shadows too long, and may have caused the coach to pass on talent that either hadn't played for him before or wasn't repped by his agent, Jimmy Sexton.

Do you feel more confident? Parcells promises he's "retiring from coaching football.'' That would seem to suggest that it's time to go play the horses, get paid by a network to do very little, and hug his cat and his girlfriend.

Or do you feel conned? "Retiring from coaching football'' is awfully specific. It leaves the door open to GM elsewhere, doesn't it? Besides, every time Bill Parcells had made a promise regarding his job, he's broken it -- including in Dallas, where he presently has/had an agreement to coach in 2007.

More confident? He assures you that "Dallas is a great city and the Cowboys are an integral part of it.''

Or more conned? How the hell would he know? Parcells never even attempted to connect with the city. Outside of an occasional steak at Nick & Sam's, he was rarely seen in public -- unless it was in Florida or in New York. At training camp this year, I was mortified as I watched him march pass fans -- goofy adult men, yes, but also old ladies and little kids -- and completely ignore their requests for even a wave of his majestic hand.

More confident? Parcells is a father of a family tree of distinguished coaches. Heck, two of the four NFL finalists were headed up by Parcells Guys, Belichick in New England and Payton in New Orleans. Maybe he's developed Todd Haley and Todd Bowles and Anthony Lynn into terrific young coaching prospects!

Or more conned? Wait a minute. Belichick now hates his old boss. Peyton worked here, but wasn't really a Parcells guy. Todd Haley and Todd Bowles and Anthony Lynn? The general public has no idea about them because they are rarely allowed to speak. And they might all be in scramble mode, anyway, as Zimmer and DeHaven before them.

More confident? He says he has "nothing but good feelings and gratitute.''

Or more conned? Scroll back up to the PR department's statement regarding InfalliBill's statement:

Please be advised that Coach Parcells will not be conducting any press conference today, and is not planning any media briefings in the near future.

How do you like that for "good feelings and gratutide''? No state-of-the-team address. No question-and-answer session. No farewell press conference. Not a word for the stockholders (i.e., the fans, i.e. YOU) about ANYTHING -- just, in all likelihood, a command over to Rich Dalrymple that the PR director slap together a written paragraph or two.

Hell, even Jimmy Johnson gave you a kiss goodbye.

Parcells? Some day soon, he'll grant an interview to ESPN or the New York Times. He's more likely to address fans in New Jersey than he is you. Juiciest quote goes to the highest bidder, I say.

Think I'm being too cynical? Feeling too "conned'' and not "confident'' enough? I'm left wondering why Parcells made reservations to attend the Senior Bowl and then backed out of Valley Ranch. Did he want more dough and Jerry told him no? (Which would be cool.) Does he not have the guts he insists his players have? Was that training-camp T-shirt -- you know, the one that read "Who's All In?'' some sort of ironic joke?

I take you to that tollbooth in the TV commercials, where Bill Parcells (in exchange for some Gatorade money, natch) offers nuggets of life philosophy.

"Do you have what it takes to pay the toll?'' he asks. "Is it in you?''

In the end, Bill Parcells was never completely devoted to the cause. Bill Parcells does not possess what it takes to pay the toll. It is not in him. During his four years as a high-priced mercenary in Dallas, it never was.

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