One is Nothing Without the Other

In sports, every so often, we have the opportunity to contemplate a legacy. For most football fans this morning, the conversation aside from the Super Bowl is about Bill Parcells’s latest “retirement” from “coaching football.”

For many, the focus of the conversation is Parcells’s legacy. (For me, it’s about who’ll be the next coach of the Cowboys, I could care less about his legacy).

You’ve certainly read the “legacy” stats: Two Super Bowl Wins, took two different teams to the Super Bowl, took four different teams to the playoffs, etc.

But what about a different look, a different set of stats: Bill Parcells’s record without Bill Belichick on his coaching staff: 55-57, 0-3 in the playoffs:

With the Cowboys: 34-30 (0-2 in the playoffs)
With the Patriots (w/o Belichick): 21-27 (0-1 in the playoffs)

That’s right, the Patriot’s Super Bowl run was the first season after Belichick came on board as the Defensive Coordinator (after a failed stint as Head Coach of the Browns, as Ezzie will certainly be quick to point out). Each of the Giants’ Super Bowls was with Belichick on the staff. His entire Jets tenure (and the remarkable turnaround) was with Belichick on the staff.

And we all know about Belichick’s recent success.

So is Parcells the Master coach we’ve all annointed him? Or is he a good motivator (and probably good teacher of coaches, since his “Coaching Tree” is pretty impressive) that had a lot of help X’s and O’s wise from another coaching “Genius”?

I think it’s the second. And you know I think is EXACTLY the same? Joe Torre. And Don Zimmer was his Bill Belichick (as everyone knows, and EDS loves to point out, Joe Torre hasn’t won anything without Zim). A good motivator and ego manager (different skills in baseball in football, but the idea’s the same) who relied on smarter tactical minds for success.

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7 responses to “One is Nothing Without the Other

  1. So true. Great points.

    This is a good one for SAT training kids.

    Don Zimmer is to Joe Torre as Bill Belichick is to Bill Parcells.

  2. Belichik STUNK on the Browns… but even the best Browns fan will admit the defense was pretty darn good. Belichik himself has admitted to having learned a lot from that experience.

    But y’all are forgetting the key here: Romeo Crennel. Belichik needed Crennel, though not as badly as Parcells needed both of them.

  3. Ezzie’s touched on a point, and EDS and I have been discussing this on email today:

    Says EDS: “Perhaps it should be a noted rule of logic in the NFL – a head coach is only as good as his assistants.”

    I completely agree. More so than in any other sport, coordinators and assistant coaches are critical to success in the NFL.

    So perhaps that should be noted in favor of Parcells. He surrounded himself with the right assistants that helped him succeed. His job was to manage and motivate, and he did that as well as anyone other coach.

  4. The numbers are a bit skewed, since in New England, he took over an aweful, laughing stock of a franchise. Even if he had Belichick, it was going to take some time to make a winner of that franchise.

    Anyway, I’m a believer that the buck stops with the head coach. You can’t take away any of his wins, nor can you discount any of his losses. I don’t think anyone would suggest that the Giants would have won their superbowls with Ray Handley as the HC, just because they had a talented DC.

    It is similarly absurd to suggest that the Yankees haven’t won the past five years or so because they don’t have Don Zimmer. There are quite a few needs I would list before I got to Zimmer.

  5. Without discounting your point too much, I think the argument that Torre hasn’t won without Zimmer(and Parcells without Belichick) is overstated. The Yankees haven’t won because of weaker pitching and defense and partly because of luck (many close series turn on luck). I’m not saying that Zimmer might not have helped but the Yankees have been really good over the last five years and were probably the best team in baseball last year.

  6. I’m not saying that Zimmer might not have helped but the Yankees have been really good over the last five years and were probably the best team in baseball last year.

    And yet, when it came down it, they were out-managed and out-classed in the playoffs. I think there’s a direct link there.

  7. And yet, when it came down it, they were out-managed and out-classed in the playoffs. I think there’s a direct link there.

    I don’t think they were outmanaged. Sure you could second guess some decisions, but that was true when Zimmer was bench coach also. The Yankees lost because they just didn’t play as well during the playoffs in some years as they did in the regular season(02, 05, and 06), which can be attributed to slumping, they were beaten by a better or equal team (the Sox in 04), and because the other team got hot at the right time (03 against the Marlins). I’m not sure managing had that much to do with it or ever really does in baseball.

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