The New York Post reported that the Minnesota Vikings are pursuing the services of veteran coach Bill Parcells, which raises one simple question: why?
That was my instant reaction to the New York Post report that the Minnesota Vikings were pursuing Bill Parcells to "run the show". The Vikings PR folks have denied the validity of the report, but at the very least perhaps Vikings owner Zygi Wilf kicked the tires on the possibility of Parcells taking charge of the team at one time or another during the offseason. Even if the story is 100% accurate, I still don't get why the Vikings would do it.
Sure, the past success is definitely there. Bill Parcells possesses one of the most unique and storied résumés in the history of the NFL. He won Super Bowls with the Giants. He helped three franchises (the Patriots, Jets, and Cowboys) turn from laughingstocks to contenders in amazingly short time spans as a head coach. Even though he hasn't coached an NFL game in over five years, his influence can be strongly felt throughout the league today thanks to his many successful coaching descendants and philosophies.
Nobody's debating Parcells' credentials. Whenever he finally decides to really, really, really step away from the game of football for good (his official retirement tally is at four and counting), he'll be enshrined in Canton at the Hall of Fame. But I'm still suspicious why the Vikings think he'd be a good fit to call the shots at this point in the evolution of the franchise.
It's no secret that the Vikings are smack dab in the middle of rebuilding. Their 2011 season was an absolute disaster. The roster has more holes than a wiffle ball as they approach the draft later this month. I understand the allure of going after Parcells in this respect. Just look at what happened in Miami the first year that he took over football operations--the Dolphins went from the worst team in the league to AFC East champions. But expecting Parcells to pull another worst-to-first turnaround in Minnesota is pretty unrealistic, especially in the current NFC North.
The idea that the Vikings would pursue Parcells as a quick fix goes against everything the team has been doing and saying the past few months. The company line from the Vikings this offseason has been pretty clear: be patient, look for value, and make sure to fully utilize the team's ten draft picks in late April. If the team was so concerned about contending right away, why didn't they splurge on a couple big-name free agents? They can't expect all of their draft picks to come in and make an immediate impact.
Another knock against Parcells is his age. Not to go all "Happy Gilmore" on you, but he's an old man. He's...old. You can't just expect him to run an NFL team, he's...too old! But seriously, the guy is 70. The saying "coaching is a young man's game" is a cliché, but it's true. Just look at what happened with Joe Gibbs when he came back to the Redskins. To think that Parcells could handle the day-in, day-out grind of running a team might be a stretch at this point.
If Parcells were to get hired by the Vikings in any capacity, chances are that he would blow things up personnel-wise. He likes to bring in "his guys" and run things "his way." Leslie Frazier and a lot of the relatively new coaching staff could get axed before even beginning their second full season in charge. While some Vikings fans wouldn't be opposed to such changes, I don't believe that giving Frazier and his staff only one year does them justice. If we're talking about the 3-13 Vikings in 2012 or 2013, that's a different story, but knee-jerk changes rarely work out for the best.
It sounds like Saints are still the leaders to convince Parcells to come out of retirement. If they do and the team thrives under his leadership, lots of people in Minnesota might be wondering "what if". But given the team's current circumstances, I just don't see how bringing in Parcells would make a big positive difference.
Then again, I'm not the one "running the show."