Will 'Godfather' Parcells Raid Valley Ranch?

IRVING, Texas -- Is there really an NFL "coaches code''? And if so, is Bill Parcells – reputedly one of the Godfathers of this "Mob Mentality'' – preparing to violate the code by raiding Valley Ranch?

At the beginning of the season, when Jets coach Eric Mangini tattled on the filming techniques of his former boss, New England coach Bill Belichick, league insiders disapproved, claiming that a "code'' had been violated.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King – with connections to Mangini, Belichick, and the ultimate mentor to both of them, Parcells – wrote extensively about this "violation,'' under the headline, "The NFL's Mob Mentality: Bill Belichick Broke A Rule; The Snitch Broke The Coaches' Code.''

Among the "tenets'' of the code, as Peter describes them:

Just what is this code? First, don't mess with a former colleague's players, a tenet Mangini -- who was hired by Belichick in 1995 and rose from coaching-staff gofer to defensive coordinator -- violated in March 2006, just after he left New England for New York. Mangini signed free-agent linebacker Matt Chatham, whom the Patriots were trying to keep. By contrast, here's what then Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, who needed a kicker, did that same off-season. Though the Pats' Adam Vinatieri, one of the best of all time, was a free agent, Parcells let it be known that he wouldn't touch the kicker. Why?

Vinatieri was Belichick's player, and Belichick had been a defensive assistant and coordinator under Parcells. In another example, one coach told SI last week about allowing an assistant to leave with a year remaining on his contract to join another team. There was one proviso: The team hiring the assistant couldn't sign the free agents of the team he left. On the third day of the next free-agency period, a prime free agent from the assistant's old team was signed by his new team. The assistant's former boss confronted him and said, "I'm going to tell everyone in the league I know what a no-good son of a bitch you are."

Second, don't mess with a former colleague's coaches. When onetime Parcells assistant Chris Palmer got the Browns' head job in 1999, he knew that a recommendation from Parcells, then the Jets' coach, had helped. Though Palmer wanted to hire Jets line coach Romeo Crennel to be his defensive coordinator, Palmer didn't try to get him.

So there you go. Them's the rules.

Parcells has been around long enough to help script the rules, and King goes so far as to laud Bill as a moral compass in observance of the rules.

So. … um. … why are we worried that Parcells, the Miami Dolphins' new Godfather, will try to hire away Dallas scouting chief Jeff Ireland? Wouldn't that be "stealing'' an asset of Parcells' "brother'' and financier Jerry Jones?

And. … well. … why is anybody concerned that Parcells would want to get his hands on Dallas offensive assistant Tony Sparano? Isn't Sparano property of another club that Parcells has connections with?

And. … hey. … how is Adam Schefter of the NFL Network reporting that Parcells is already targeting Cowboys free-agent players? The Miami Herald even names names: Terry Glenn, Patrick Crayton, Flozell Adams, Jason Ferguson, Jacques Reeves. … I thought a guy was "a son-of-a-bitch'' if he did such a thing?

And. … whoa. … the Fort Worth Star-Telegram throws in the names of Julius Jones and Keith Davis, along with assistant Paul Pasqualoni. And they quote Greg Ellis saying that Parcells is likely to reach out and touch Valley Ranch. "Guys he can get his hands on, he probably would,'' Ellis said. "I could see that happening.''

Let's keep going. …

A Cleveland radio station is reporting that Parcells might make a play for QB Derek Anderson. But. … aren't the Browns coached by Romeo Crennel, a long-time Parcells protégé? Reports are everywhere that Parcells will want to lure his son-in-law, Scott Pioli, to join him. But. … isn't Pioli already employed by New England, where Belichick has a long history with Parcells?

And what's this in the New York papers about Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum and his Parcells connection? How can Bill hire a Jets employee who works for Mangini, who grew up in football with Parcells as his idol?

The Miami Herald mentions QB Chad Pennington as a possible future Dolphins acquisition. But isn't he property of Mangini's Jets?

Listen, I know Parcells likes to play the "Man's Man'' card. And I know he's from New Jersey. But this isn't the mafia. There is no "Mob Mentality.'' There is no such mindset, as King claims, of "don't go against the family.'' The closest most NFL coaches get to a "mob mentality'' is that they eat too many canoles.

That stuff is the domain of writer Mario Puzo, and not the domain of writer Peter King. Because such "rules'' are a) not followed by disloyal mercenaries like Bill Parcells and b) completely impractical.

They are completely impractical for the following reason: If the "Mob Mentality'' precludes Parcells from stealing assets from others in his "fraternity,'' then he cannot acquire anybody from Cleveland (because of protégé Crennel), New Orleans (because of protégé Sean Payton), Dallas (because of Jerry Jones), the Giants (because of protégé Tom Coughlin), Buffalo (because of Coughlin connection Dick Jauron), New England (because of protégé Belichick) and the Jets (because of protégé Mangini). Oh, and put Atlanta on the list, because he just got done screwing Arthur Blank and surely feels badly about it.

So, what. … Parcells' Dolphins will only acquire coaches and players from, like, the Cardinals and the Bengals? Ridiculous.

Finally, let's make this clear: the rules are NOT followed by disloyal mercenaries like Bill Parcells. Why do you think Parcells/Belichick/Mangini – once upon a time the Grandpa, Son and Grandson of NFL coaching – now all despise each other? Answer: Because they are all, in terms of "following familial codes – despicable.

During his notable NFL career, Bill Parcells has crossed the owners, coaches and fans of the Giants, the Falcons (look it up), the Bucs (look it up, too) the Patriots, the Jets and the Falcons (again). And if he crossed them? While there is no way of predicting how successful he'll be when he raids Valley Ranch, there is no "code,'' no "bond,'' no "family tie'' that will restrict this Godfather from presenting to Cowboys personnel some "offers they cannot refuse.''

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