(Photo Credit, AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser)
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Members of the New England Patriots media contingent met last week to decide who would be the finalists for the 2016 Patriots Hall-of-Fame. Raymond Clayborn, Kevin Faulk, and Mike Vrabel were selected and fans can vote for their candidate for the one player they want to see enshrined with a Red Jacket here. All three players are fine choices and one can’t go wrong with any of the three. For the second straight year former Head Coach Bill Parcells was omitted by the committee. Parcells is a Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, but will he ever dawn the red jacket at the Hall at Patriots place?
The case for Parcells.
Parcells was hired by the New England Patriots after the 1992 NFL season. He took over a team that had become the laughing-stock of the NFL after going a combined 9-39 over the previous three seasons. In four seasons with the team, Parcells turned the roster completely around and won an AFC championship in 1996. Parcells was the de facto general manager of the Pats and his first pick in his first draft with the Pats was Drew Bledsoe. Parcells made some very good personal moves and some of his draft picks were instrumental in the Patriots winning their first championship in 2001 under Bill Belichick. Three of his four first rounders as Patriots head coach, Bledsoe, Willie McGinest and Ty Law are already in the hall. The fourth Terry Glenn was one of the reasons he left the team. Parcells was overruled by owner Robert Kraft and famously said at his farewell press conference,”They want you to cook the dinner; at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries. Okay?” Parcells helped turn the franchise around and brought a toughness to the team. He finished his career with a 32 and 32 regular season record in New England. He led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI and finished with a 2 and 2 postseason record. His .500 winning percentage may not look great, but it was a huge improvement over the team’s first 34 seasons when they had a .454 winning percentage. When looking at the Pats Super Bowl XXXVI championship the core of Tedy Bruschi, Law, Lawyer Malloy, Ted Johnson, McGinest, and Troy Brown all were selected in the draft by Bill Parcells. His coaching and drafting helped turn around a franchise, and for that, he should be a candidate for induction into the hall.
The case against Parcells.
Parcells may have helped turn around a franchise, but his backdoor dealings before the Super Bowl still stick with many long-time Patriots fans. Perhaps his distraction before the game did more to hurt the team than meets the eye. Parcells started his career with the Patriots 8-17 before a miracle comeback win against the Minnesota Vikings in which Bledsoe threw 70 passes. The team then won six games in a row before a loss to the Belichick led Cleveland Browns in the Playoffs. Much hype was brought on the 1995 Patriots but despite adding a great offensive weapon in Curtis Martin who ran for 1,487 yards the Pats finished 6-10. The defense was bad with 23.6 points against. The offense was putrid averaging just 18.4 points per game. For the second straight season, the Patriots started 3-6. After three seasons in New England Parcells had a 21-27 record. Perhaps Parcells was wrong when he didn’t want Terry Glenn on his team. Sure Glenn didn’t exactly turn into Randy Moss but he did help transform the Patriots offense in 1996. While Parcells had some great draft picks, he also had his share of stinkers. Outside of Bledsoe and Brown in 1993 that class was less than stellar. Parcells even cut Troy Brown on numerous occasions. He made 40 selections in New England but outside of Brown and Dave Wohlabaugh, he never selected an impact player in the fourth round or later. Parcells traded for Marion Butts, who rushed for 2.9 yards per carry in 1994. He selected Christian Peter in the fifth round of the 1996 draft only to cut him a week later.
Another thing to look at is a trend in Parcells career, he is better with Bill Belichick on his coaching staff. The Patriots had one season in which Parcells had Belichick on his staff, this happened in 1996 when Belichick was the assistant head coach and secondary coach. The team went 11-5 and advanced to the Super Bowl. In his career with Belichick on his staff, Parcells has a regular season record of 117-73-1, including a postseason record of 11-5 with three Super Bowl appearances and two Lombardi Trophies. Without Belichick on his staff, Parcells is 55-57 with a postseason record of 0-3. Perhaps Patriots fans should thank Belichick for getting them to Super Bowl XXXI, or perhaps they should thank Parcells for introducing Kraft to Belichick. Let the debate continue on the career of Bill Parcells and whether or not he should be inducted into the Patriots Hall-of-Fame.