In January 2000, shortly after the New York Jets ended their '99 season, their coach, Bill Parcells, retired. By then he had won 149 games, lost 106, tied one, led three major pro football teams out of serious slumps, and taken two of them to the Super Bowl. He had made football history; he'd become the NFL's miracle man. Both intimidating and disarming, with a tongue like a whip and the temperament of a tyrant, Bill Parcells joined the failing New York Giants in 1983. By 1990 he'd twice taken the team to the Super Bowl. Three years later he took in tow the downtrodden New England Patriots, whom he propelled to the Super Bowl in his fourth season. He returned to New York in 1997, this time to rally the Jets. In two seasons the team with a lamentable 1–15 record had won a division title and missed the Super Bowl by only a game. In 1999, beleaguered by injuries to key players, the Jets nose-dived, losing six of its first seven games, but Parcells still managed to salvage the season with an 8–8 finish. While this biography candidly assesses the career of a consummate coach, it also examines the driving force that took hold of Parcells early and never let him go. Call it ambition, a dream, bulldog spirit, or perfectionism, it made him one of the winningest coaches in NFL history.
Don't expect any blockbuster revelations or unique insights about Bill Parcells in this biography of the famous football coach. In a straightforward fashion, sportswriter Gutman tracks Parcells's rise from a star New Jersey athlete to a head coach in the NFL, first with the New York Giants, then the New England Patriots and finally the New York Jets. Gutman also recounts Parcells's various college coaching stops before he cracked the professional coaching ranks as an assistant with the Giants in 1981. Gutman's argument that Parcells's success as a coach--he brought two different teams to the Super Bowl and a third to a championship game--was due to his highly competitive nature, his motivational ability and willingness to adjust his coaching philosophy to meet the capabilities of his players, has been made before. Also rehashed is Gutman's observation that Parcells's high school coach Mickey Corcoran was the most influential person in his life. Gutman (no relation to Jets president Steve Gutman) is a capable writer who delivers an accurate overview of the coach's life. If he does not provide much new material, he still gives fans of Parcells's teams a pleasant ride down memory lane, especially Giants fans who have been waiting to return to the Super Bowl since the 1990 departure of the Big Tuna. Photos not seen by PW.