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Tale of Two Coaches: Coughlin and Belichick

On Saturday night, the Hall of Fame selection committee snubbed Bill Parcells.  Parcells, a two-time Super Bowl championship coach, was denied entry into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.  Perhaps voters have a short-term memory. His last stint with the Cowboys went south.  And perhaps this could be a reason why Parcells was kept out.  Whatever the reason, Parcells should have been a member of the 2012 Hall of Fame class.  Peter King agrees.  Sports Illustrated’s Peter King makes a good case.  “Bill Parcells probably should be a favorite to make it (10th all-time in wins,  two Super Bowl wins, took four franchises to the playoffs), but you never know  how much momentum new guys will have in the room among the 44 voters. Some of  the voters aren’t fond of the prickly Parcells, but he does have more wins than  the four coaches — Marv Levy, George Allen, John Madden and Hank Stram —  who’ve been enshrined since 2000, and none of them have more Super Bowl rings  than Parcells.” 

But 2012 is not going to be his year. In fact, now there are four coaches with TWO Lombardi’s not in the Hall of Fame.  Bill Parcells. George Seifert. Tom Flores and Jimmy Johnson. (Thanks JA.)   Maybe in 2013, Parcells will be wearing a yellow blazer.  However, one of his disciples, Tom Coughlin or Bill Belichick, will be wearing a new ring in 2012. 

For Belichick, with a win, he can erase the nightmare of the 2007 almost perfect season.  Without Eli Manning’s and David Tyree’s last minute heroics, Belichick would be looking for a ring for his thumb this year.  If the Patriots lose to the Giants on Sunday, there will be discussions about Belichick’s mystique.  Is he a great coach?  Did he reap THREE Super Bowl trophies because of cheating?  Yesterday, on this blog, Andy floated this idea because former NFL players tend to agree.  Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, and Amani Toomer believe Belichick’s success stemmed from his videotaping. During an interview this week, a reporter asked Belichick about his three Super Bowls being besmirched. Belichick became testy.  “We moved on from everything in the past. We are focused on this game. That’s it.”  Belichick got caught with breaking NFL rules.  From the NFL’s Constitution & Bylaws (article 9): “Any use by any club at any time, from the start to the finish of any game in which such club is a participant, of any communications or information-gathering equipment, other than Polaroid-type cameras or field telephones, shall be prohibited, including without limitation videotape machines, telephone tapping, or bugging devices, or any other form of electronic devices that might aid a team during the playing of a game.” Belichick and the Patriots were fined and lost a number one draft selection.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell  found no evidence that the St. Louis Rams’ walk through practice before Super Bowl XXXVI was filmed by the Patriots, as the Boston Herald reported Feb. 2, citing an anonymous source. The Boston Herald ran a story about this without verification.  And they had to retract and apologize for doing so.  The Rams lost to the Patriots because Rams head coach Mike Martz was outcoached.  Former Rams wide receiver Ricky Proehl talked about the Rams loss to the Patriots.

“New England did a great job of game planning our offense,” he said. “They showed blitz and dropped into zone. They basically rushed three and dropped eight. And [Martz’s] comment was ‘we’re going to throw that ball anyway.”

Martz’s desire to continue throwing the ball instead of running it, was a choice that according to Proehl was not well received by the Rams’ offensive players. As a matter of fact, during the Super Bowl, Proehl stongly suggested to Martz about running the ball more.  Martz’s response: F*ck You.  This exchange could be found in the book The Education of a Coach written by David Halberstam.  

Does Belichick have a lot on the line on Sunday?  You betcha.  In order for him to silence his critics, his team has to beat the Giants on Sunday.  If this happens,  this whole Spygate drama will be remembered as an ahem attack.  

As for Tom Coughlin, if the Giants win on Sunday, he will have two Lombardi trophies.  In the past few days, I was listening to WFAN radio in New York.  Some Giants fans were comparing Tom Coughlin with Bill Parcells.  This is predicated on Coughlin hoisting another Lombardi trophy.  This comparison is preposterous.  First, Coughlin has been the Giants head coach for eight years and won playoff games in just two of them.   As we have documented time and again on this blog, Coughlin has been underachieving with talent for years.  There has been too many wasted season under Coughlin.  On the other hand,  Parcells won consistently over his entire span as coach of the Giants.  His teams did not collapse in second halves of seasons.  His teams did not quit on him.  More importantly, some people do not remember how tough it was for Parcells.  When he took over for the Giants, they had a losing tradition or lousy football for 17 plus years.  As Giants fans, we had one season of respite under Ray Perkins.  Furthermore, when Parcells coached he had to deal with a much stronger NFL than it is today.  Back in Parcells’ tenure, the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, and Chicago Bears were all powerhouses.  From 1983 to 1990, the San Francisco 49ers won the Super Bowl THREE TIMES.  The Washington Redskins won ONCE. Chicago captured their title in 1985.  Under Parcells, the Giants won twice.  Think about this for a minute.  In eight years, the NFC won the Super Bowl SEVEN out of eight years.  Nonetheless, the better teams were in the NFC.  Although I am not a Tom Coughlin fan, I think winning another Super Bowl cements him as a tremendous coach.  But he is not in the same class as Parcells.