Hall of Fame inductee Bill Parcells says best coaching was 8-8 Jets season
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Bill Parcells achieved so much during his Hall of Fame coaching career, winning two Super Bowls with the Giants, getting to another Super Bowl with the Patriots and leading the once floundering Jets to the AFC Championship Game.
But ask Parcells to name his best coaching job, and he'll point to a .500 season.
"I kind of think one of my better coaching jobs was with the New York Jets [in 1999]," Parcells said Wednesday on a conference call preceding his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio. "We started off, we lost our quarterback, we started off 1-6 and we were able to eventually get to 8-8. Holding that team together to accomplish that I think was probably one of the better things."
The Jets were coming off a run to the AFC title game the year before, but Vinny Testaverde went down with a season-ending Achilles injury in the first quarter of the first game in 1999. The Jets slipped to 1-6 before rallying to an 8-8 record in Parcells' final year with the Jets.
"That wasn't any monumental success or anything, but I think most coaches will tell you that when you start 1-6, it's tough to maintain the things you need to be successful," said Parcells, who will be presented at the Hall of Fame by former Giants co-captain George Martin. Several of Parcells' former players and coaches will be in Canton for the ceremony.
Parcells did his best work with the Giants, winning titles after the 1986 and 1990 seasons. But it wasn't the Super Bowl wins that stand out most to the 72-year-old Parcells. The one moment he remembers most of all was beating the 49ers, 15-13, in the 1990 NFC Championship Game in San Francisco.
The 49ers were going for their third straight Super Bowl title that year, and the Giants had lost Phil Simms to a broken foot late in the season, leaving inexperienced backup Jeff Hostetler as his starter. But Hostetler got the best of Joe Montana, as the Giants outlasted San Francisco and won it on Matt Bahr's 42-yard field goal as time expired.
"We were heavy underdogs," Parcells said. "San Francisco was going for their three-peat. We had lost [Simms]. I think probably that if you pin me down, that would be [the greatest moment]. There were so many great players playing in that game that that's what makes it memorable to me.
"As a matter of fact, [referee] Jerry Markbreit told me that was the greatest game he ever officiated," Parcells said. "That stuck with me."
Parcells coached the Giants from 1983-90, and then coached the Patriots from 1993-96, going to the Super Bowl after his fourth season. He left the team in a contract dispute and then coached the Jets from 1997-99. He finished his coaching career in Dallas, where he coached from 2003-06.
Parcells went on to become the Dolphins' director of football operations in 2008 and left the team early in the 2010 season.