METAIRIE, La. -- I shared some of the most interesting New Orleans Saints-related tidbits from Bill Parcells' recent authorized biography Tuesday, including how he strongly considered becoming New Orleans' coach in 2012 and how the Saints almost traded for Tony Romo in 2006.
Here are more highlights from "Parcells: A Football Life":
On Sean Payton: The book chronicles how Parcells and Payton became so close, even though they had no history together before he joined Parcells' Dallas Cowboys staff in 2003. According to the book, Payton was looking to leave the New York Giants after he had been stripped of his play-calling duties in 2002. Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi convinced Payton not to quit during the season and promised to let him leave afterward. Then Giants executive Chris Mara, whom Parcells had long respected, recommended Payton.
Accorsi told Payton he would get his "master's degree" on becoming a head coach under Parcells, which is exactly how Payton approached the job. The book detailed how Parcells had to "deprogram" Payton, who preferred a more experimental offensive approach. At one point, Parcells even laminated a practice playlist and banned any additions, which frustrated Payton until he saw that it led to sharper execution.
Payton also learned to appreciate the virtues of coaching through confrontation. Before that, Payton had generally avoided brutal honesty. But by the time he became New Orleans' coach in 2006, the way the book described it, "the former nerd's glare could now induce fear in his players and coaches ... he turned into a control freak, persnickety about every aspect of the organization." Payton's now-ex wife nicknamed him "Bill Parcells Jr."
Parcells also grew fond of Payton, making the rare decision to hand over play-calling duties to him in 2005 and continuing to mentor him frequently over the phone even when he became a rival coach.
One of the things Parcells told Payton is that of the 10 new coaches hired in 2006, only one or two would have success and the others would fail. Sure enough, Payton and Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy are the only two who have won a Super Bowl and the only two still in the same job.
On recently-hired Saints scout Jeff Ireland: The book chronicles a similar relationship that blossomed between Parcells and Ireland when they began working together for the first time in Dallas. However, that relationship came to an abrupt end years later after Parcells didn't like the way Ireland went behind the back of another protégé, coach Tony Sparano.
Parcells hired Ireland and Sparano as GM and coach of the Miami Dolphins in 2008. Parcells then retired in 2010, leaving them in charge. But in January 2011, the book said Ireland obliged Dolphins owner Stephen Ross' request to accompany him on a secret interview to try and hire Jim Harbaugh to replace Sparano.
The book said Parcells was "enraged" by Ireland's participation, that Parcells cut off communication and the two are no longer on speaking terms. The book also said Ireland and Sparano's relationship deteriorated to the point where Sparano's wife reportedly asked that her skybox be moved so she could maintain a distance from Ireland's spouse.
Up until that point, Parcells was high on Ireland, who was first described in 2003 as an up-and-coming scout, the "point man" on personnel acquisitions and a go-between from Parcells to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. Parcells didn't get along well with Dallas' longtime chief scout Larry Lacewell, and Parcells ultimately pushed for Ireland to replace Lacewell in 2005.
The book describes several instances in which Parcells and Ireland disagreed on players but still learned to admire each other through those debates. Parcells convinced Ireland to look harder at tight end Jason Witten in 2003. Ireland fought for safety Bob Sanders in 2004, but Parcells wanted him removed from the Cowboys' draft board because he was only 5-foot-8 (they were both right, since Sanders was a two-time first-team All-Pro but constantly battled injuries). And Ireland won out when they debated over whether to draft Demarcus Ware or Marcus Spears first in 2005 -- as I detailed in a recent breakdown of Ireland's scouting history.
According to the book, Parcells once told Ireland, "I wish I'd have met you when I was younger. We would have had a helluva time. I'm sorry I came along so late, but your grandfather (former Chicago Bears scout Jim Parmer) laid an egg, and it hatched thirty years later." Parcells was so high on Ireland that before he took the Dolphins job in December 2007, he first called Ireland to make sure he'd join him.
The book also recounts Ireland's infamous gaffe when he asked receiver Dez Bryant if his mother was a prostitute during a pre-draft interview. Parcells didn't approve of the way Ireland crossed the line but remained supportive.
On Drew Brees: There was a funny anecdote about a time when Parcells apparently rubbed Saints QB Drew Brees the wrong way in 2011. After Brees threw three interceptions in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Parcells told Payton: "Sean, tell Brees that if he was down in the arcade throwing balls at milk bottles to win a teddy bear for his girlfriend, she would have gone home empty-handed." A week later, Brees threw five TDs with only four incompletions in a 62-7 rout over Indianapolis. Parcells passed on a new message: "Sean, tell Brees that we ran out of teddy bears up here. They're all gone. We were forced to order some more from the factory in South Korea." This time, the book said Brees laughed hard.