Bill Parcells Signs with Dallas Cowboys Through 2007
Despite rumors of his impending retirement, Bill Parcells has signed a two year contract extension which keeps him as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys through the 2007 season.
Bill Parcells is coming back for at least one more season with the Dallas Cowboys — and maybe even two. The team announced Friday that Parcells agreed to a new contract through the 2007 season. “I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue what we have started here,” Parcells said in a news release. “The Cowboys organization has been the fairest of fair to me, and hopefully I can repay them with an improved performance.”
Parcells, 64, had a year left on the four-year, $17 million contract he signed in January 2003. However, he left his three previous coaching jobs mid-contract and there was speculation he might do it again.
The question diminished as this week went on and Parcells continued showing up at his office every day. Still, the announcement helps turn attention back to what the club will do to continue the turnaround that saw them go 9-7 after being 6-10 the previous year.
“This is about continuity and building upon the pieces we have in place as an organization and as a football team,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “We aren’t where we want to be at this point, but we’re definitely moving in the right direction and feel very good about the future.”
The longer this dragged on–four days is an eternity when eight teams have head coaching vacancies and one has already hired a replacement–the more assured this result seemed. The sites I’ve been reading this week all reported that Parcells was keeping up his normal schedule, which would be an odd thing to do if one is burned out and ready to call it quits. Still, the waiting was getting annoying. (See Mickey Spagnola‘s amusing-in-hindsight piece on that score.)
Nick Eatman of DallasCowboys.com adds,
While the Cowboys won three more games in 2005 than the previous season, Parcells said he was not excited about finishing 9-7, especially missing the playoffs for a second straight season. But Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the team is headed in the right direction and wasn’t looking to make any big changes.
When reports first surfaced back in late December that he was considering retiring, Parcells firmly declined to comment on his future. Then, following last Sunday’s season-finale loss to the Rams, Parcells again avoided the topic, only saying he needed “to get away from it for a while.” But he didn’t exactly “get away” from anything. Parcells returned to work this week, staying close to this normal schedule here at Valley Ranch.
“As I have said for the past three years, I am encouraged by Bill’s enthusiasm and determination, and that hasn’t changed in any way,” added Jones. “From a personal perspective I have enjoyed every aspect of our working relationship, and I am optimistic about the organization’s future.”
But despite Parcells’ extension, the Cowboys still have some uncertainties on their coaching staff. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer interviewed with the St. Louis Rams on Thursday for their head-coaching vacancy. Assistant head coach/passing game coordinator Sean Payton has interviewed with both the Saints and Packers about their coaching vacancies as well.
Both Zimmer and Payton were offered head coaching jobs (with the Oakland Raiders and Nebraska Cornhuskers, respectively) after the 2003 season, so it’s not surprising that they’re under consideration again. Zimmer has done a superb job with the defense and, while many Cowboys fans–myself included–have grumbled about Payton’s play calling this year, the statistics look good.
Columnist Clarence Hill notes, though, that “Parcells still has work to do in Dallas.”
He came to the Cowboys in 2003 to put the luster back in a fading franchise, which had gone 15-33 the previous three years under Dave Campo. Parcells had immediate success in 2003, finishing 10-6 and taking the Cowboys to the playoffs. After falling to 6-10 in 2004, Parcells admitted being embarrassed and disillusioned, raising questions about whether he would eventually step down.
Parcells returned with fervor in 2005, getting himself in shape to have more energy for the season. He also re-made the Cowboys roster, spending more than $32 million on free-agent upgrades. Add in a strong draft class, led by first-round picks DeMarcus Ware and Marcus Spears, and the Cowboys felt they were ready to make a playoff run. But after sitting atop the NFC East with a 7-3 start, the Cowboys faded down the stretch, losing four of their last six to finish 9-7 and miss the playoffs for the second time under Parcells and fifth time in the past six years. The Cowboys have only been to the playoffs four times since their last Super Bowl title in 1995. They have only won one playoff game since then.
Parcells, winner of two Super Bowl titles with the New York Giants, said the team is better than when he got here. But he also knows the job is not complete. Ã¢€œI feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to continue what we have started here,Ã¢€ Parcells said. Ã¢€œThe Cowboys organization has been the fairest of fair to me, and hopefully I can repay them with an improved performance.Ã¢€
Despite the late season collapse, the Cowboys have a good shot next year. They were a decent kicker or a healthy Flozell Adams away from the playoffs this year.
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