Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Parcells: Priceless

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Parcells: Priceless

Article excerpt

CANTON, Ohio - Bill Parcells spent the entirety of his coaching life purposely making many people feel uncomfortable.

And in many ways, the beauty was in the delivery, too.

Beyond the talent and the brains, an uncanny ability to barrel into the psyche of just about everyone - especially his players - is what opened the door on the path to where the self-described "Jersey guy" from Bergen County finally concluded that journey Saturday night as a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.

And for all those that Parcells motivated and angered through the years with his demands - often simultaneously -- this was the perfect way for some to get even.

This was the time to make The Tuna squirm with the one thing he has earned yet never seemed to care about: praise.

With story after story, players who were coached by Parcells and coaches who learned on his sideline expressed their love, temporary disgust and lasting respect for the man inducted into the Hall of Fame and immortalized as one of the game's greatest coaches.

By the time Parcells took to the stage, the native of Hasbrouck Heights and Oradell was ready to bring his best the way his players so often did for him.

He closed a 20-minute, 13-second speech with a story from his first day on the job as head coach of the Giants. After an introductory news conference, the late Wellington Mara brought Parcells to a small room near the players' entrance in the old Giants Stadium. There he pointed to the wall and a plaque that featured a quote from former Giants defensive back Emlen Tunnell, Hall of Fame Class of 1967.

"That inscription read ... 'Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups; but winners assemble as a team,' " recalled Parcells, 71. "Well, tonight ladies and gentlemen, I get to do just that. I'm honored. I'm grateful. And I'm thankful to every single one of you out there that had something to do with this."

Somehow Parcells always knew which buttons to push and did so again, capturing the essence of the moment that serves as the pinnacle of what he called "a priceless, priceless education."

While Parcells coached stars from Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson and Curtis Martin to gamers such as Phil Simms, Mark Bavaro and Wayne Chrebet, his legacy will forever be defined by the method to his madness not to mention the results.

"There were some guys who would say, 'You either hated him or you loved him,' " Carson said. "Sometimes you felt both within a five- minute timeframe."

Parcells was poignant and funny, emotional yet stoic, thanking everyone from his ex-wife Judy and their daughters to his 91-year- old mentor Mickey Corcoran, his high school basketball coach at River Dell - all of whom were in the crowd.

Corcoran, a Dumont resident, is a living link between Parcells and Vince Lombardi, who coached Corcoran at the now-closed St. Cecilia's High School in Englewood. Parcells even had a suggestion for the Hall of Fame regarding the placement of his bust, joking, "I'd like to be somewhere near Lawrence Taylor so I can keep an eye on that sucker."

Parcells remains the only head coach in NFL history to lead four different franchises (Giants, Patriots, Jets, Cowboys) to the playoffs. …

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