Monday, January 22, 2007

Parcells to the Lions? Get real, folks...

As you all know, the Big Tuna, Bill Parcells retired from the Cowboys, and supposedly pro football altogether today. Within minutes after the announcement, you could read message board posts by fans desperately wanting the Lions to give Parcells a call.

That's not Alfred Hitchcock, it's the Tuna

Local sports talk radio pondered just such a scenario as well. I'd expect at least 1 local ink stained wretch of a columnist to call for the Lions to make a pitch for Parcells as well.

My take? As if... Come on people, let get real. It's not going to happen, and believe me it's for the best.

To begin with, rumors had it that the Lions had their shot at Parcells a few years ago, before he ended up in Dallas. Supposedly there was interest from the Tuna in joining the Lions, but he was never seriously considered due to his caustic personality and need for complete control. In other words, Parcells is too much the control freak, a total handful for an owner who doesn't like those who make waves. Parcells would have been a tsunami.

The Fords preferred Matt Millen as their savior. But I digress...

Would the Lions interest Parcells? At this point of his career, not as a coach. As a GM? Possibly. But honestly, I wouldn't want the Tuna as the head coach or GM. Not at 65 years of age. It's become more and more obvious the the NFL is a younger man's game. Witness the success of first year coaches Eric Mangini of the Jets (age 36) and Sean Payton of the Saints (age 43). Lovie Smith was hired at 45, and has the Bears in the Super Bowl 3 years later.

I don't often agree with the Worldwide Leader dot com's Bill Simmons, but he nailed the Parcells age issue with his "Speed Limit Coaching Corollary."

This isn't about age as much as the demands of this particular profession. It's the hardest in sports, an incredibly complex, punishing, thankless job. Just look at the physical effects on head coaches who stick around for extended periods of time. Remember during the Dallas-Seattle game, when NBC ran a split-screen of Parcells and Mike Holmgren from the Packers-Patriots Super Bowl in '97, then followed it up with a live split-screen of them during Saturday's game...and they looked a good 20-25 years older. It was positively creepy, right?

That's why, in Parcells' honor, I'm introducing the Speed Limit Coaching Corollary. If the coach of your favorite team is older than 55, or if your team is about to hire someone who's older than 55, there's a good chance you should start preparing for a frustrating stretch of football.

Yet the Lions have Rod Marinelli. A gimpy 57 year old first time head coach coming off a 3-13 season who's recovering from hip replacement surgery... Yep, that's our forward thinking Lions.

So Parcells isn't coming to Detroit. You know he'd piss off Ford Sr. to no end, and to be perfectly honest, he's well past his prime.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Leo's could actually find the next up and coming great football mind? Someone in his 30's, with a chip on his shoulder, and something to prove? Never happen. This is the same franchise that had assistant coaches of the caliber of a Don Shula and Chuck Knox back in the day, didn't know what they had, and let them leave for much greener pastures.

It's been nothing but retreads, has-been's, and never-were's since William Clay Ford took over. Convincing Bill Parcells to un-retire, to either coach and/or GM the Lions, would be repeating the same mistake.

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