When 2013 Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells presented running back Curtis Martin for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame last year, the legendary coach paid close attention to the week’s events in Canton.
He no longer has to scout teams, but Bill Parcells scouted Canton.
Last year, when Parcells presented running back Curtis Martin for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the legendary coach paid close attention to the week’s events here.
He hoped he would one day be enshrined himself.
Now, that day is here. Parcells didn’t know it a year ago, but he is one of seven football greats who will be enshrined Aug. 3.
“Having been there last year as Curtis Martin’s presenter, that was a good experience for me,” Parcells said Wednesday on a conference call about his enshrinement.
“I kind of know the drill now, and I have the ability to anticipate things. I think the dinner will be pretty emotional. That’s where I first felt the sense myself last year presenting Curtis. ‘Hey man, something important is happening here.’ ”
Parcells was referring to the Gold Jacket Dinner at Memorial Civic Center. It is the first official appearance by the entire class, when each enshrinee is presented with the gold jacket, one of three tokens to commemorate the occasion (a bronze bust and a Hall of Fame ring are the other two).
Parcells’ career left little doubt that he would be enshrined; the big question was when.
“All of us that are in the business of football, you’re aspiring to eventually get to the top of your profession,” Parcells said. “I don’t think you ever expect anything in this regard, but you do think about it. Particularly, when you see some of your peers or guys you coached against and competed against, and they’re in there. Then you think, some day, it might be a possibility. Probably, 10 years ago it first crossed my mind.”
Parcells turned around four franchises (Giants, Jets, Patriots and Cowboys). All were teams that struggled when he arrived and were playoff contenders by the time he left. He won two Super Bowls.
But what Parcells is best known for is getting the most out of his players and often doing it in confrontational style. He once left a plane ticket on Lawrence Taylor’s locker stall so Taylor could fly to New Orleans and bring back a Saints linebacker who had played well against an opposing tackle the Giants were about to play. He rode backup quarterback Jeff Hostetler so hard that Hostetler once said he liked playing for Parcells because the team won, but he never enjoyed a minute of it.
Parcells pushed buttons like no one before or since.
“The ability to motivate someone is a very, very much overrated thing,” Parcells said.
“I think it’s impossible, as a matter of fact, to motivate someone who’s not a self-starter in his own regard. My job as a coach, assuming they are interested in improving, was to direct them. You have all kinds of personalities you’re dealing with. Some are reclusive … other are high strung and anxious, wasting energy doing things that aren’t important. You have to recognize the different characters and appreciate them as people before you can go about teaching them.
Page 2 of 2 - “I grew up in a family that was confrontational. I carried some of that with me. In the long run, pushing buttons, I’m not sure what that means, other than you’re trying to get people who don’t how to do it, excited.”