NEW ORLEANS – The Giants went one-for-two in the voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Bill Parcells, who led the Giants to two Super Bowl victories during his eight-year tenure as the team’s head coach, was today selected as one of the Hall’s seven new members.
Michael Strahan, the Giants’ other representative among the 15 finalists, made the cut to 10 but was not elected to the Hall in his first year of eligibility.
In 19 seasons as a head coach, Parcells led four teams – the Giants, New England Patriots, the Jets and the Dallas Cowboys. He was 172-139-1 (.569) in the regular season and 11-8 (.579) in the postseason. His overall record was 183-138-1 (.570). The 172 regular-season victories are the 10th-highest total in NFL history, as are the 183 total victories.
In addition to winning Super Bowls XXI and XXV with the Giants, Parcells led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI, where they lost to Green Bay. He is one of 13 head coaches with more than one Super Bowl victory, one of five coaches to lead two different franchises to the Super Bowl and the only head coach in NFL history to take four different franchises to the postseason.
“I’m honored, I really am,” said Parcells, who was a finalist last year. “It’s just unbelievable. When you start in this business you’re not aspiring to do anything but win games and keep your job. After a while your aspirations change to try to win division and win playoff games. After that to the championship level if you can get there. When it’s all over with, like it has been for me for a few years, you obviously think about it some. I’m just very appreciative of everything.”
Parcells becomes the 19th Hall of Famer who spent all or a significant portion of his career with the Giants. That is the third-highest total among the 32 NFL franchises, behind Green Bay (21) and Pittsburgh (20). The Giants’ Hall of Fame representatives include Wellington Mara, Mel Hein, Frank Gifford and Lawrence Taylor.
“I’m very happy for Bill,” said John Mara, the Giants President and Chief Executive Officer. “This is long overdue. He’s one of the best coaches in NFL history. He turned our franchise around. We went through a long period in the 1960’s and 70’s when we were a laughing stock. When Bill took over in 1983 he survived a very difficult first year, but then turned us into a perennial playoff contender and won two Super Bowls for us. He coached three other teams and everywhere he went, he had great success. I’m very happy that he will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”
“I don’t think there’s any question that Bill Parcells is a Hall of Fame coach,” said Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who was on Parcells’ staff from 1988-90. “He has Hall of Fame accomplishments throughout his entire career. Parcells coached for a long time, he worked for a lot of different franchises. It was kind of surprising to me, after the first go-around, I thought, ‘Why isn’t he in?’
“I think what he has accomplished as a football coach in this league, winning two world championships with the New York Giants, taking the New England Patriots to the Super Bowl, taking four franchises to the playoffs, which is the most in history, those kinds of accomplishments speak highly of his ability to take on great challenges, go into a situation which was not productive, and turn it around and do so in a very quick and early fashion.”
Parcells, who grew up in Bergen County, N.J., where the Giants have made their home since 1976, was the Giants’ defensive coordinator in 1979 and 1981-82. When Ray Perkins left to coach the University of Alabama, general manager George Young promoted him to head coach. After a disastrous 3-12-1 debut season, Parcells led the Giants to five postseason berths, three division titles and two Super Bowl victories in his last seven seasons with the team. He was 77-49-1 in the regular season and 8-3 in the postseason with the Giants.
Parcells joins Harry Carson and Taylor as players from that Giants era of success in the Hall of Fame.
“It’s just so great and of course, Wellington Mara,” Parcells said. “Harry and Lawrence, they’re some of the reason that I’m in today, along with – and I can’t enumerate them all – along with Phil (Simms) and Mark Bavaro, Jimmy Burt, (Leonard) Marshall, Banksy (Carl Banks). All of them that were so great and got me started. Phil Simms was terrific. We all needed each other (in) that group of guys, my first group. We needed each other, every single one of us. We just kind of all came together at once. There’s a blood kinship with all of us – all the players, my captain, George Martin, Harry and all the guys.”
Simms said, “He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame because of the success he had in all the places he coached. He was a unique coach, there’s no doubt about it. But when you when you coach and win two Super Bowls, when you take another franchise to the Super Bowl and then you have success with the Jets and take them to an AFC Championship Game and success with the Dallas Cowboys, that’s pretty good. There are a lot of people in the Hall of Fame that did a lot less than him.”
Parcells, 71, spent the day at his home in Jupiter, Florida. He said he worked out and ran errands in the morning. While he was doing that, the Hall of Fame selection committee was meeting here, as it always does the day before the Super Bowl.
After the announcement that Parcells had been selected, the first call he received was from a fellow Hall of Fame coach.
“Ironically, when John Madden got into the Hall of Fame, I was the first one to call him,” Parcells said. “And he was the first one to call me. Unbelievable.”
Parcells indicated he knows who will present him at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Canton this summer, but “I haven’t talked to the person directly.”
Parcells is joined in the Class of 2013 by three players who were selected in their first year of eligibility – guard Larry Allen, tackle Jonathan Ogden and defensive tackle Warren Sapp – as well as wide receiver Cris Carter, along with senior nominees, defensive tackle Curly Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson.
The first vote of the day reduced the 15 finalists to a list of 10. In the final voting, those who didn’t make the cut were Strahan, Jerome Bettis, Charles Haley, Andre Reed and Aeneas Williams.
Parcells seemed almost stunned that he will soon join legendary coaches such as Vince Lombardi, George Halas and Tom Landry in the Hall of Fame.
“It’s beyond comprehension, really,” Parcells said. “You don’t ever perceive yourself to be that way. They were the heroes. Then you’re in a group where some of your contemporaries are in the Hall of Fame. You pass that stage and you have new people coming along and you say, ‘This coach is pretty good, that guy is pretty good. I can see how he’s winning.’ Those are the kinds of things that happened to me.
“I think anybody in football who’s been associated with me knows that I have respect for the game and respect for the people that did precede me. I tried to carry that forward with my teams and tried to express that to the players on my teams, that they should have that respect for those that paved the way for them. You have to win, too. I was fortunate to work for great organizations that gave me the opportunity and the resources to go forward. I’m grateful for that.”
Madden, Parcells’ close friend, delivered one of the most famous enshrinement speeches when he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. He said he imagined that at night, when the Hall’s lights are turned off, the doors are locked and no one is in the building, all the Hall of Fame busts talk to each other. Madden said he couldn’t wait to join the discussions.
“I’m telling you, Parcells will hold his own in every one of those conversations,” Coughlin said. “I guarantee that.”