Bill Parcells is the most qualified coach in our sport that you could draw up. If you sense that opportunity, then you want to grab it. You do this because this franchise has 5 Lombardi trophies, you do this because of the national and international acclaim of this franchise, but most importantly, you do this because you want to win. There is no doubt in my mind, that when the opportunity presented itself for Bill Parcells to be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, we took it.
Bill Parcells Opening Remarks
Parcells: I'd like to thank Jerry for the opportunity to return to the National Football League, and that I'm going to make my best efforts to return this franchise to prominence. This franchise is one that we have all aspired to be like with all the trophies assembled here. I look forward to getting this team back to prominence, and high competitiveness and one that reflects in a positive way on the Dallas Cowboys. I've had extensive conversations with Jerry about this. We've joked about both of us kind of being in the same place in life, really just wanting to attempt to do the same thing. It became apparent to me in those conversations that this is a partnership that can work for me, and hopefully for him. I'm energized and determined, and I look forward to becoming part of the community here in Dallas. We begin this together, as I said, I'm really looking forward to it, and we'll do our best to put a team on the field that both the Cowboys and the DFW community can be proud of.
How did you get the nickname "Tuna?"
Parcells: When I was in Boston in my first year of the NFL on Thanksgiving, I was coaching the linebackers at the time and they tried to sucker me with the old "free turkey" down at the store. I said you must think I'm Charlie the Tuna (that was the guy that was a Starkist) at the time, and then the name just kind of stuck after that.
|Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, left, welcomes his new head coach Bill Parcells, to a news conference at the team's practice facility in Irving. (AP/Ron Heflin)|
Parcells: I've been fortunate to have a pretty good support structure wherever I've been. It helps to have a quarterback, and I've been fortunate to have that wherever I've been. I love the game of football. I do love the game, I have respect for my predecessors and I think the NFL is one of the great things that exists in America today and I know that it's big and important to a lot of people. But the game itself is what I've really enjoyed, both as a teacher, player, and head coach.
Talk about the authority you'll have here in Dallas.
Parcells: I'm an employee of the Dallas Cowboys and we have an order in place. We've entered into a partnership. I've been told that if we come down to a disagreement between me and the ownership, that they have the final say, and I have agreed to that. We are both kind of in the same place, and we both want to go to the same place. I'm hoping that we can provide each other with mutual vehicles to get there. I'll make my very best effort to bring what I can to the table, and I know Jerry and the support staff here will do the same thing.
What are your thoughts on Emmitt Smith coming back?
Parcells: Well certainly I'm aware of what Emmitt has accomplished. This is a thing that we will have to discuss as an organization. We'll have to talk about that, and Jerry will have to talk about Emmitt and see where he is and what's going on. Obviously there will be changes here, there's no doubt about that. Things won't be status quo. We'll have to talk about this later on.
Do you see one of the current quarterbacks starting for you here next season?
Parcells: That's a good question, and I'm not prepared to answer that at his juncture. I know there are certain cards here on the table, and they all aren't bad cards. There are some good cards here. I don't know what's going to transpire at that position. It's a position that's vital in the NFL. He has to have a lot of things, besides the physical skill to survive this thing that he faces after the game on Sundays. I certainly will attempt to find that person to the best of my ability, if he's not already here, we'll have to find him.
You have a strong personality, so does Jerry, it looks like there is the potential there for this to not really workout.
Parcells: I disagree with that. I've been around some strong personalities. You might know one of them that are out there at Texas Tech. I don't feel that way at all. I view that as an asset if we are both trying to get to the same place.
Are you a more kinder Bill Parcells to the media as you've gotten older?
Parcells: Yeah some days I guess. I don't always feel compelled to tell everything I know though. I've used it with my coaching staff before. I'm always interested in collecting information, not necessarily exchanging it. I know that sometimes the media and the coach can be adversaries, but I hope that's not the case here.
Do you feel the 5-11 record here is indicative of the talent level?
Parcells: My assessment is that if you are 5-11 than that's what you are. I look at the record; I take it for what it is. There's no way to sugar coat it, it's not acceptable to Jerry, it certainly wouldn't be for me. I've got to sit down and evaluate this team, and I haven't had time to do that yet. I'm looking for big fast guys that like to play football.
What is the ultimate concern going into next season?
Parcells: I'm not prepared to answer that. I haven't watched them with that eye. I've watched the games, but I can't specifically say I've watched them under those circumstances. It's difficult to watch a game on television and get a good feel for what's going on. I'll have to make that judgment later on. I do know the players and some of their skill, and I do know there are some things that we can work on.
At what draft pick would you take Chris Simms?
Parcells: That's a bit premature, I haven't evaluted the quarterback position here nor the draft, so I can't answer that. I've known Chris since he was two years old, but I can't answer that question now, it's way too early.
How did Jerry convince you that this was the place you needed to coach next season?
Parcells: He didn't have to convince me very much. I could tell he wanted to win. That's something that's important to me, because I've never felt like there is a totality to that everywhere. Deep down, you know whom you really have to fight and whom you don't really have to fight. Quite frankly, I told Jerry this, I know that Bill Parcells is not for everyone in this league. But by the same token, we are both in the same place now. It would be easy for me to go up to Saratoga in the summer and watch the races, but in the back of my mind football is still there. It's what I am and what I do. I'm not ashamed of that anymore, and I accept that.