Perhaps no one coach or front-office executive left a bigger footprint in the AFC East than Bill Parcells. The 2013 Hall of Fame entrant had high-ranking positions with three of the four franchises in the division. His success at various places earned Parcells the No. 11 spot on ESPN.com's all-time NFL coaching list.
Parcells was a rare breed in the NFL, because he was both a very good coach and talent evaluator. That combination made him famous for quickly turning teams around, and he did it successfully during stints with the New England Patriots, New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.
Parcells began his stint in the AFC East as head coach of the Patriots. After taking three years off from coaching, Parcells came to Foxborough in 1993 when New England was a franchise down in the dumps. The Patriots were 19-61 the previous five seasons before Parcells arrived and he quickly established a winning mentality. He led New England to the playoffs twice and lost in the Super Bowl to the Green Bay Packers in 1996, which was his final season with the Patriots. In many ways, Parcells jump-started New England’s current run of success that is still going today with head coach Bill Belichick, who is a former Parcells pupil.
In 1997 Parcells continued his AFC East tour with the New York Jets. He went 29-19 in three years with the Jets and never had a losing season. Parcells retired again from coaching in 1999.
Parcells’ final stint in the division was in 2008 as Vice President of the Miami Dolphins. Former owner Wayne Huizenga paid Parcells a lot of money to run and oversee the team. Parcells' magic touch impacted Miami in the first year when the Dolphins went from a 1-15 team in 2007 to a 11-5 team and won the AFC East in 2008. The Dolphins tied the record for biggest one-year turnaround in NFL history.
But things went downhill for Parcells in Miami after his first season. The Dolphins never made the playoffs again during his tenure. After struggles and an ownership change, Parcells choose to step down and hand the keys over to current general manager Jeff Ireland. Parcells is known just as much in Miami for bailing on the Dolphins when things got rough as he is for the historic turnaround when he first arrived.
Still, Parcells’ impact on the entire AFC East is unmatched. He experienced success at three places in the division, which proved it was better to have Parcells on your team than to face him as an opponent.