Our countdown of the top 20 coaches in NFL history stops today at No. 11, which is where we find former New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells. Known for his work in New York, where he guided the Giants to their first two Super Bowl titles, Parcells was also the first coach to lead four different teams to the playoffs. He reached the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots and also coached the New York Jets and the Cowboys to the playoffs during his 19 seasons as an NFL head coach.
All-time Giants great Lawrence Taylor helped us out with this insight into what it was like to play for Parcells:
As good a player as I was, there were times when I wasn't into it. The way he got you hyped up was amazing. When he said something, I believed what he said. I would have a bad game the week before and people were asking, "What's the matter with Taylor?" Reporters were asking, "What's the matter with Taylor?" So all week long he'd call me "What's-the-matter-with?" He had them put that on the back of my practice jersey.
He was such a master of B.S. You'd get so fired up, you'd go out and destroy people. I was All-Pro for 10 years, but when Bill left, I mentally left. I was retired three years before I actually retired. I only came outside once a week to practice. It was like losing a mentor, a friend.
One time, before we played the Redskins, he put plane tickets in my locker. [New Orleans Saints linebacker] Pat Swilling had a great game against Washington the week before, and he said, "Go down to New Orleans and trade helmets with Pat Swilling." That just got me riled up and made me want to kick the s--- out of them. After the game, he came up to me and said, "You know, you played well." There was nothing better than when he'd put his arm around you and say you played a hell of a game.
One of the testaments to Parcells' coaching greatness is his coaching tree, which you can see here includes Super Bowl champions Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton as well as a number of other names that won't be unfamiliar to you. Parcells is a 2013 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and surely a worthy one at that. When you think about Halls of Fame, you often ask yourself the question of whether you can tell the story without the person. It would be hard to tell the story of the past 30 years in the NFL without Bill Parcells playing a prominent role.