Ask Bill Parcells to reflect back on the most successful moments of his career, and the Giants and Jets are at the top of that list.
His best coaching job? The 1999 Jets, who started off 1-6 after Vinny Testaverde got hurt in the first quarter of the first game, but finished 8-8 in Parcells’ last season in New York.
Most memorable moment? The Giants’ 15-13 win over the 49ers in the 1990 NFC Championship Game a week before they upset the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
“I kind of think one of my better coaching jobs was with the New York Jets [in 1999],” Parcells said 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, were 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.
“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.”
Parcells said there have been plenty of other highlights to his career, in which he won two Super Bowl titles with the Giants and went to another Super Bowl with the Patriots. But the one moment he remembers most of all was beating the 49ers in an unlikely road win. 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 his starter.
“We were heavy underdogs,” Parcells said. “San Francisco was going for their three-peat. We had lost our quarterback. I think probably that if you pin me down, that would be it. 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.