Parcells, Young find solo flights bumpy

On the NFL

April 28, 1996|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,SUN STAFF

Bill Parcells and George Young, who were something of an odd couple when they were working together in the 1980s, are finding life is even more difficult now that they've gone their separate ways in the 1990s.

Parcells won two Super Bowls as coach of the New York Giants with the players Young drafted as general manager, but he never stopped grumbling that he didn't have control of the draft. He even complained about the selection in 1990 of Rodney Hampton, who has become a franchise running back.

Parcells tried to walk out on the Giants to go to the Atlanta Falcons within days of winning the Super Bowl in January 1987, and finally quit in May 1991, after winning his second Super Bowl.

It was too late in the off-season to go outside the organization for a coach, so Young promoted Ray Handley from Parcells' staff, but the team collapsed around him.

When Handley was fired after the 1992 season, Young resisted the suggestions from the New York media that he try to bring Parcells back.

Parcells went on to New England, where he was hired by then-owner James Orthwein. He brought instant credibility to the team, sold tickets, drafted Drew Bledsoe, which wasn't a difficult feat, and made the playoffs in 1994.

But Parcells found out that running the whole show isn't as easy as it looks. The list of modern-day coaches who have pulled that off pretty much starts with Bill Walsh and ends with Jimmy Johnson.

Parcells started misfiring in the draft, his free-agent signings -- including several of his ex-Giants -- often weren't productive and the team crashed to 6-10 last year.

The week before this year's draft, Parcells managed to get his pocket picked by Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis.

Parcells thought Davis was a friend, but Davis apparently is happy to pull a fast one on his friends as quickly as he is on his enemies.

Parcells traded Pat Harlow to the Raiders for Davis' second-round pick. At the time, it was the 46th pick. Davis promptly traded down 11 spots with San Francisco and shipped that pick to Parcells.

On draft day, Parcells, as he usually does, wanted a defensive player. But when the Giants took defensive lineman Cedric Jones at No. 5, there weren't any blue-chip defensive players on the board (the next five players picked were offensive players).

So Parcells made a deal with the New Orleans Saints to drop to the 11th spot so he could take defensive lineman Duane Clemons.

Finally, Patriots owner Bob Kraft had enough. Backing his personnel director, Kraft vetoed the deal and selected wide receiver Terry Glenn. Since he has $42 million invested in Bledsoe, Kraft figured it might be a good idea to get him a receiver.

Parcells, of course, was irate. He quickly gave his side to reporters, who wrote that the pick was "stuffed down his throat," although he wasn't quoted directly as saying that.

There now is speculation in New England that Parcells may quit at the end of the year.

The Patriots later picked three defensive linemen, but one of them was Christian Peter, a Nebraska player with a history of violence against women.

This was embarrassing to Kraft, who had publicly said he wouldn't draft running back Lawrence Phillips.

"I'd have to answer to my wife," he said before the draft.

The Patriots released Peter, saying they didn't realize the extent of his record. That made it look as if they didn't do their homework.

The schedule

What can you buy for $1.58 billion these days?

Media baron Rupert Murdoch bought the San Francisco-Dallas game with the money he spent on the Fox contract for NFC games.

For the third straight year, the game will be played on the second Sunday in November, at the start of the fall sweeps period.

You would think the league's feature attraction would be on a Monday night one of these years, but money talks and Murdoch has put up the most dollars. He also got the Dallas-Miami game.

The problem is that some fans in major markets will miss the San Francisco-Dallas game if they don't have a satellite dish.

The Giants are scheduled to play Sunday night that week, and Philadelphia plays host to an AFC team (Buffalo) at 1 p.m., so the 49ers-Cowboys game can be shown in those two large markets.

But Chicago fans will miss it because the Bears play at Denver at the same time. Washington fans will miss it because the Redskins are host to an NFC team (Arizona) at 1 p.m., and two NFC games can't be shown there. Baltimore fans will miss it, too, because the Ravens will play at Jacksonville at the same time.

The league didn't do the Ravens any favors, either, at the start of the schedule. They'll be underdogs in their opener against Oakland in the Raiders' first visit here since the 1977 "Ghost to the Post" playoff game. And they play their second game in Pittsburgh, where the Browns were 4-23 at Three Rivers Stadium.

NB Maybe the Browns jinx in Pittsburgh won't apply to the Ravens.

Approving the move

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