Bubble finally bursts on Parcells' inflated ego

PRO FOOTBALL

January 12, 1992|By VITO STELLINO

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

Hugh Culverhouse didn't let Bill Parcells fool him twice.

When Parcells came calling last week after jilting Culverhouse the previous week, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner coolly let him know he was no longer interested.

By the end of the week, Tampa Bay had hired Sam Wyche, the former Cincinnati Bengals coach.

Culverhouse apparently knew Wyche wanted the job. He wasn't going to turn him down.

By the time the week was up, it was reported in Minneapolis that Parcells called the Vikings to ask if their job was still open. Although Parcells denied the report, the Vikings showed no interest in him and gave the job to Dennis Green on Friday.

Parcells now not only can't get anybody to the altar, but he also can't even get a date.

The most logical explanation for Parcells' bizarre behavior over the past few weeks is that he let his ego get the best of him. Success simply went to his head after he won a second Super Bowl.

He listened to too much of the wrong advice, took himself too seriously and forgot what he really likes to do: coach a football team.

Parcells had such an inflated opinion of himself that he could do anything he wanted, leave the best job in football in New York, jilt a powerful owner in Tampa and spurn a friend in Green Bay. He thought teams still would take him on his terms. By the time he realized his mistakes and figured out that he really wanted to coach, it was too late.

In retrospect, he never should have left the New York Giants. He learned that sometimes people who have everything start thinking there must be something else, instead of appreciating what they have. He'll still have a nice job in television, but coaching is his life.

Now, he's in danger of becoming another Buddy Ryan. Unless the Indianapolis Colts hire him, Ryan will get shut out in a year in which nine teams were looking for coaches.

In the end, maybe it's all the fault of Roger Craig and Scott Norwood. If Craig hadn't fumbled in the NFC title game or Norwood had made the field-goal try in the Super Bowl last year, Parcells wouldn't have won the Super Bowl and he might not have taken himself so seriously in the first place. He still might have the job he always wanted: coaching the Giants.

*

Switching off TV: Bill Walsh is expected to announce on NBC-TV today -- NBC barely has time to televise the games while keeping up with all the goings and comings of its coaches-turned-announcers -- that he's leaving the network to return to the San Francisco 49ers in a front-office job.

It's still unclear what Walsh's title will be, but he definitely will cast a large shadow. Walsh isn't the shy, retiring type.

Which brings up the question of how he's going to exist with coach George Seifert, who replaced him.

Seifert admitted last week that he had some initial qualms, but said he has resolved them.

"The only power struggle that would exist is that which is fantasized in the media," Seifert said. "It would not be on my part and not on Bill's part. There would be a lot of good cooperation and a lot of good work."

*

Too quick for Petitbon: Teams are moving so quickly to fill their coaching vacancies that Richie Petitbon, who draws up all those clever defensive schemes for the Washington Redskins, is likely to get shut out without an interview.

The teams aren't allowed to talk to Petitbon until the Redskins season is over -- which isn't likely to be until the Super Bowl in two weeks -- and it may be too late for him.

He expressed interest in the Green Bay Packers job last week and raised the question of why teams are in such a hurry, but the Packers pursued San Francisco assistant Mike Holmgren, signing him yesterday.

This is unfortunate for Petitbon, who's 53 and doesn't have many years left if he's going to get a head coaching job, but it's good news for the Redskins. They'd have trouble finding a replacement who is as wily about defenses. Petitbon also works very well with coach Joe Gibbs, who virtually lets him run the defense.

*

Not dominant?: Gibbs likes to stress that the Redskins aren't a dominant team despite their success, and there's not much argument about that, because the team doesn't have a lot of stars.

Yet their feat of outscoring their foes by 261 points this season puts the Redskins in a class with some of the great teams in NFL history. Only eight other teams have outscored their opponents by more than 200 points, including Vince Lombardi's best team, the 1962 Packers, who set the record by outscoring foes by 267.

The other teams are the 1985 Chicago Bears, the 1984 49ers, the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers, the 1972 Miami Dolphins, the 1948-49 Philadelphia Eagles and the 1941 Bears. All won championships.

*

No conspiracy theory: It wasn't a surprise that Tom Flores replaced Chuck Knox as the Seattle Seahawks coach. Ever since Flores was hired as general manager by owner Ken Behring in 1989, the speculation has been strong that he was being groomed to replace Knox.

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