Is it the two Super Bowl rings? The nine NFL seasons with at least 10 wins? The playoff consistency with eight divisional NFC East titles? Whatever the formula, Bill Parcells was officially recognized as one of the league’s all-time great coaches, selected for induction this summer in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Parcells had a 22-year career patrolling the sidelines, half of that was leading the New York Giants. Scott Clark was at WABC-TV for much the Parcells run in East Rutherford, New Jersey, including victories in Super Bowl XXI and XXV.
“[His] record speaks for itself, and to that end, I remember him many times saying, ‘It is what it is fellas. You are what you are.'”
Parcells will join a couple of his former Giants defensive players for enshrinement–Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson.
Before coming to New York, Clark covered another eventual Hall of Fame coach, Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins.
“Gibbs and Parcells were vastly different personalities, but they shared similar traits,” Clark tells FishbowlNY. “They out worked everybody else, 24/7. [There were] cots in the office, living, eating, breathing their respective jobs.”
Parcells was also known for his famous, or infamous, motivational style of coaching. Clark says the players knew that Big Tuna understood how to get the best out of all types of personalities.
“Parcells was a bad ass, but he was fair, and his players responded in kind,” Clark recalls.
Parcells also had coaching stints in Dallas and New England. It was a coaching turn with the New York Jets that almost took them to the promised land. In January 1999, he came within 30 minutes of bringing the Jets to their first Super Bowl appearance in more than 30 years.
He also worked in TV as an ESPN studio analyst. But Clark says Parcells had a strained relationship with the media as a coach. Parcells didn’t tolerate his players giving less than their all on the field or reporters asking stupid questions in the clubhouse.
“If you were a member of the press and media covering Parcells, he served as an effective barometer of your worth,” Clark remembers. “If you asked him about, say, a hypothetical situation, you would get an answer something like, ‘What kind of horse___ question is that?'”
But if you asked a well-constructed question, Clark says the coach was respectful.
“Parcells let us know how good we were, as we let [viewers] know how good he was,” Clark says. “Bill Parcells was better than good.”