American Football: Only parallels with 1991 favour Parcells
Can Super Bowl history repeat itself? Matt Tench reports from New Orleans
Friday 24 January 1997
Parcells' probable departure from the New England Patriots, after they have played the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, has dominated proceedings here, just as his imminent divorce from the Giants - he left a couple of months later - did in 1991. As he did then Parcells has attempted, without success, to play down the story. One report suggests that he has already signed for the New York Jets. Parcells simply says he will review his position after the Super Bowl.
His habit of guiding clubs to success, then leaving prematurely has drawn comparisons with Kenny Dalglish, but the analogy is only partially successful. If Dalglish's reasons for moving on have revolved around pressure, with Parcells the issue is power. He left the Giants because of frustration with the personnel decisions made by the team's autocratic general manager, George Young, and seemed to have gained the authority he sought when he joined the Patriots four years ago. But under a new owner, Robert Kraft, this appears to have been steadily eroded, a process emphasised by the choice of Terry Glenn, the wide receiver Kraft coveted, as the Patriots' first pick of last year's draft rather than the defensive player Parcells preferred.
When Parcells requested that a year be taken off his contract, making 1996 his last season, his departure was widely predicted, but as the Pats progressed to the Super Bowl, so the clamour to keep him grew. This week, however, it has been clear that Parcells and Kraft remain at odds over his responsibilities - there has also been talk of a personal rift - and it seems almost certain that Parcells will return to New York where the Jets are thought to have promised him complete control.
Known as a players' coach, many will miss him, but not it seems the most important one. Drew Bledsoe, the Patriots brilliant young quarterback, has suffered more than most from Parcells' unforgiving tongue, and there were detectable signs of relief as he reacted to this week's stories.
"I've known throughout the last four years that at some point in my career Bill is going to be gone," Bledsoe said. "Sometimes it's pretty enticing."
Bledsoe will have to play at his very best for the Pats to have any chance, with even Parcells acknowledging his side's status. When the Packers' Mike Holmgren claimed himself as the underdog head coach, because of his lack of Super Bowl experience, Parcells retorted: "I don't know about that. I know whose team is the underdog."
Overmatched in just about every area, the Patriots appear to have only one factor in their favour, the cyclical theory of history. Back in 1991, Parcells won.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United transfer news: United given new hope in race for Juan Cuadrado as Barcelona talks stall
Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
Manchester United transfer news: Mats Hummels, Daley Blind and Thomas Vermaelen on radar as Louis van Gaal reveals he still wants to sign defender
Liverpool transfer news: Brendan Rodgers plans more Anfield signings this summer
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres is staying at Stamford Bridge
- 1 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Now diplomacy has failed, boycotting Israel might be the only way we can protect the people of Gaza
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Kelsey Grammer forgives the man who raped and murdered his sister in 1975
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: LSA's required! West Midlands
Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: MLD teachers required West Midlands...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are recruiting for a M...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Randstad Education are looking fo...