Sunday, February 3, 2013

Big Tuna, Big Honor: Parcells enters Hall of Fame


One year ago, head coaching legend Bill Parcells congratulated, and later presented, his protege Curtis Martin for induction into Canton’s Pro Football Hall of Fame, only to fall short himself for the third straight year.

Looks like four's a charm.

Saturday, Martin once again joined Parcells in celebration, this time to welcome his former coach into the NFL’s highest honor.

“I’m really looking forward to going back out there and celebrating this with Bill,” Martin said, according to “It meant so much to me for him to be there last year. This time I think it’ll be interesting to me to see him as ‘the rookie.’”

During his illustrious career, Parcells was involved with three AFC East teams, moving into the head coaching spot for the New England Patriots after his tenure with the New York Giants. He brought the Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1996 after four up-and-down seasons — eventually losing to the Green Bay Packers — and drafted Martin in the process.

Parcells then went to the Jets (along with Martin), where he brought the team to the conference championship in his second year. In his three years with Gang Green, the team posted a combined record of 29-19.

After a coaching stint with the Dallas Cowboys, Parcells rounded out his career as the executive vice president of football operations for the Miami Dolphins, helping accomplish the most significant two-year turnaround in NFL history. The ‘Fins went 11-5 in 2008 under Parcells and made the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

“This is tremendous,” Parcells told NFL Network after hearing of his induction. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s just exhilarating. It’s just a great thrill to join such an elite group.”

All three AFC East teams had nothing but positive things to say about The Big Tuna after the announcement was made Saturday evening. Here’s some words from around the division:

Patriots CEO Robert Kraft via the team’s website:

“It is well deserved. As a Patriots fan, I will always appreciate the credibility he brought to our franchise as a two-time Super Bowl champion. We had never had a head coach with those credentials. I am very happy for Bill and look forward to his enshrinement ceremonies."

Dolphins owner Steve Ross via the team’s website:

“He had his own unique style in building a successful organization and instilled a winning mindset at all levels as both a coach and executive. While he might have had different levels of success at each of the teams he worked for, he always left each franchise far better off than how he found it.”

Jets owner Woody Johnson via the team's website:

“Bill Parcells infused new life into this franchise on many levels. From acquiring players like Curtis Martin to bringing back a winning culture, we will always be grateful to Bill for his contributions to the New York Jets. On behalf of the entire organization, I congratulate Bill on his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.”

Former player Keyshawn Johnson via Rich Cimini at ESPNNewYork:

"I am so proud to have played for Bill Parcells. He is a true teacher of men. You always knew where you stood with him, and I trusted him as much as any coach I ever played for … at any level. I was ecstatic to have the opportunity to play for him because he helped shape my career in so many ways. I congratulate him on this Pro Football Hall of Fame honor, which he is so deserving.”

Check out the link to Cimini’s piece for more reactions, including a statement from coach Bill Belichick.

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