Saturday, August 03, 2013

Coach Bill Parcells Takes His Rightful Place In the Pro Football Hall Of Fame

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

New York Football Giants: The Author Of Smash Mouth.

Where's Peter King!?  I'm proud of my guys, okay? - Bill Parcells, 1986

Coming out of the 70's and entering the 1980's, the Giants were still somewhat of a mess, as GM George Young's affects still hadn't really taken hold yet.  Meanwhile in Flushing, Queens, the Jets, Joe Klecko and the New York Sack Exchange were enjoying a considerable measure of success under head coach Walt Michaels.  Georg Young first had to negotiate a truce between the Mara Brothers in order to get the club functioning properly again.  Wellington's twenty-five year plan was taking its toll on everyone, while the memory of Joe Pisarcik and "The Fumble" still weighed heavily on the minds of many Giants fans.

I was already a die-hard Giants fan during the Ray Perkins era.  It was under Ray Perkins that Bill Parcells was first hired as the Defensive Coordinator.  I liked Bill right away because he coached a solid unit.  Back then, the defense was the one really bright spot of the team outside of punter Dave Jennings.

It was no great secret that Ray Perkins wanted to leave for Alabama, but the sudden coaching upheaval still took many aback.  It's just that under Perkins, the Giants finally tasted their first morsel of success after a considerable time.  Sure we made the playoffs under Coach Perkins, but we weren't exactly threatening anybody for league supremacy - not yet.  Although they looked outside the organization, the Giants were still staunch in-house people.  So hard-ass George Young, replaced disciplinarian Ray Perkins, with a double-barreled hard-ass disciplinarian, Bill Parcells.

I do not think Giants fans anticipated the 1983 season going so badly, but we knew what Parcells was up against.  Injuries decimated the team, and there still wasn't enough talent on the offensive side of the ball.  There was a multi-headed monster at quarterback throwing passes to Earnest Gray and other non-descript receivers, with two heads belonging to Scott Brunner, and the often injured blond-haired laughing stock out of Morehead State, Phil Simms.  Good or bad however, the 1983 season gave every indication the team was heading in a new direction.  But like Bill himself, I also remember pondering whether he would indeed return after his first season.

These were the days before free agency, when teams could stockpile depth.  And boy were the Giants deep.  They built-up towards Super Bowl XXI, which makes that one very sweet for me, as it was the first championship I enjoyed as a Mets/Rangers/Knicks/Giants fan.  After suffering crushing defeats in previous years to the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, Big Blue dominated the NFL in that 1986 season and for the next five years continued playing Smash Mouth football.  At their very best, I rate the all the battles against Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and the Niners as the ultimate pinnacle of Giants success.  Big Blue stood as Giants among the NFL elite.  By far the most crushing defeat was they way a dominant season ended in overtime against Flipper Anderson and the Rams.  But Super Bowl XXV was a most gratifying punctuation mark on the era.

For the New York Giants and their fans, Bill Parcells ended a thirty year wait with two Super Bowl championships in five years.  For his eight year tenure with Big Blue and all my time as a Giants fan, his brand of Smash Mouth Football was my most satisfying period as a New York sports fan.


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