Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls and an AFC championship in his legendary career, but he believes his best coaching performance occurred in an 8-8 season -- 1999, his final year as the Jets' coach.
The Jets, who entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations, lost QB Vinny Testaverde in the opener and began 1-6, looking utterly hopeless. Somehow, behind a neophyte named Ray Lucas, they rallied and nearly made the playoffs.
"That was one of my better coaching jobs," Parcells said Wednesday on a national conference call to discuss his upcoming Hall of Fame induction. "Holding that team together to accomplish that, I think probably was one of the better things. That wasn't any monumental success or anything, but I think most coaches will tell you, when you start 1-6, it's tough to maintain the things you need to be successful."
It was a masterful job by Parcells. Unfortunately, he "retired" the day after the season, moving into a GM-type role for a season as Al Groh coached the team.
Parcells suspects he'll get emotional during his Hall of Fame weekend, Aug. 2-4, saying he never thought about the possibility of making it to Canton until about 10 years ago. His presenter is ex-Giant George Martin, and Parcells expects many of his former coaches and players to be there. (He isn't sure if Lawrence Taylor will attend.)
Parcells spent four years with the Jets, including three as the coach, but there's no doubt he bleeds blue, as his greatest success occurred with the Giants. He said his fondest memory is the 1990 NFC Championship Game, when they stunned the two-time defending champion 49ers on the road.
"There were so many great players playing in that game," he said. "That's what makes it memorable. As a matter of fact, the referee, Jerry Markbreit, told me of all games he ever officiated, that was the greatest he ever officiated. That kind of stuck with me, that an official would feel that way as well."