How do you replace a suspended Super Bowl-winning coach? By getting a man who has won two.
Sean Payton has reportedly asked Bill Parcells to become interim head coach the New Orleans Saints in 2012 while Payton sits out the year as punishment for his role in the team’s bounty program. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reports that the two had numerous discussions last week, some of which focused on the idea of Parcells returning to the sideline while Payton serves his suspension.
Sources told Mortensen that Parcells would consider the idea if there was a formal offer but cautioned that numerous factors could derail the plans. It was unknown whether Saints owner Tom Benson had been made aware of the discussions. And Parcells, 71, would have to wait five more years to enter the Pro Football Hall of Fame if he returned to coaching.
The Saints coach was an assistant under Parcells in Dallas from 2003 to 2005.
Is this a good football idea? The biggest argument against is that Parcells would create more upheaval and disruption. Pro football teams thrive on familiarity and order. Then again, you could make the argument that New Orleans will already be in disarray this season and that the authoritarian presence of Parcells could bring order amidst coaching chaos. Who will get more respect in the locker room, a 40-year-old assistant who came into the job by process of elimination or a coaching legend? If anyone could thrive in a temporary role, it’d be Parcells.
Putting aside all that, getting Parcells would be a phenomenal way to stick it to Roger Goodell. “You want to ban me for a year? Here, how about I bring Bill Parcells in to take over.” Suffice it to say, that wasn’t what Goodell had in mind when he levied those suspensions on New Orleans.
Payton begins his season-long ban on April 1. If Parcells doesn’t take over, the team is expected to announce an in-house hire.
This news of the Payton-Parcells talks broke during Tim Tebow’s introductory press conference in New York. Last Wednesday, Payton’s suspension and Tebow’s trade were announced within minutes of each other, suggesting that there’s some symbiotic relationship at play. What does it mean? Clearly that Tebow is the best choice to coach the Saints.