Updated, 9:00 p.m. ET
Bill Parcells is finally in the Hall.
Parcells, who coached the Giants to two Super Bowl wins, the Patriots to one Super Bowl appearance and also spent four years of his remarkable NFL head-coaching career leading the Jets from their 1-15 season in 1996 to a game shy of the NFL championship game two years later, was named to the Hall of Fame early this evening in New Orleans.
Parcells was joined in the Class of 2013 by tackle/guard Larry Allen, wide receiver Cris Carter, defensive tackle Curley Culp, tackle Jonathan Ogden, defensive tackle Warren Sapp and Seniors Committee nominees defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson as the Hall's 46-member selection Committee inducted the maximum number of seven new members during its all-day finals voting process a day before Super Bowl XLVI will be played in the Superdome.
The committee thus completed a year-long story that nearly rivals Sunday's matchup between Super Bowl head coaches and brothers John and Jim Harbaugh. Parcells, who presented Curtis Martin for enshrinement in Canton, Ohio, a year ago, now joins the superstar running back who credits Parcells for making him the Hall of Fame player he became.
"It was a little less stressful than last year," Parcells said in his remarks on NFL Network's Hall of Fame show after finding out he has finally risen into football's pantheon. "I was kind of hoping Curtis and I, we could do it together. But as fate would have it, it didn't work out."
"I'm really looking forward to going back out there and celebrating this with Bill," Martin told newyorkjets.com. "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.' "
Jets Owner Extends Congratulations
New York Jets owner Woody Johnson tonight offered his congratulations to Parcells with a nod toward bringing Martin into the Green & White universe.
“Bill Parcells infused new life into this franchise on many levels," Johnson said in a statement. "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.”
Parcells, of course. drafted "the rookie" Martin as New England's head coach in 1995. The two were leading lights on the Patriots team that lost to the Packers in Super Bowl XXXI the next season. Parcells came to the Jets in 1997 and the next offseason brought Martin down to the Green & White as a restricted free agent.
Martin was one of a small group of players who became known as "Bill's guys." Another was cornerback Aaron Glenn, who played on Parcells' Jets teams from 1997-2000 (the final season with Bill giving up head-coaching duties but remaining as the team's director of football operations), then rejoining him on the Cowboys, the record fourth team that he guided into the NFL playoffs, in 2005-06.
"It was good to be known as one of Parcells' guys. There's not a lot of us," Glenn said with a laugh this evening. "To be in that group and go wherever he went and he wanted you to come wit him, that was pretty amazing. Just to be in that elite group of guys was pretty special.
"I knew he was going to get in. That was a no-brainer," said Glenn, a starter on that 1-15 team that made the biggest two-year improvement in NFL history under Parcells' guidance and now a member of the Jets' pro personnel department. "It was just a matter of when it was going to happen. I'm just happy he's enjoying life right now."
Reeling In the Tuna
Many Hall of Fame observers felt that Parcells was a shoo-in this year after a year ago reaching the final 10 candidates but not advancing to the final five in the Selection Committee's day-long deliberations in Indianapolis. But late word from a few Hall insiders was that voting wasn't stacking up in his favor again and that he might not join Martin and the rest of the now 280-member Hall.
Parcells was said to be disappointed he didn't make it last year in his third year as a finalist but that this year he was of the mindset that whatever happens happens. What happened is that the Hall of Fame finally, rightly reeled in the man known over the years as "the Big Tuna."
"Bill was a unique coach, there's no doubt about it," Phil Simms, Parcells' Giants quarterback and frequently the CBS analyst on his Jets games over the years, told USA Today's Jim Corbett, the former Jets beatwriter. "But when you coach and win two Super Bowls and you take another franchise to a Super Bowl, and then you have success with getting to the championship game with the Jets and success with the Dallas Cowboys, that's pretty good.''
And as Giants coach Tom Coughlin, a Parcells assistant coach, recalled about John Madden's enshrinement speech seven years ago, "When they shut the lights off and lock the door at the Hall of Fame at night, all the busts in the Hall talk to each other. Parcells will hold his own in every one of those conversations, I guarantee that."
Parcells is expected to fly from his Florida home to New Orleans Sunday during the day and join his six Class of '13 mates on the Superdome turf tomorrow evening to be introduced to the Super Bowl crowd and Jets and NFL fans at home before the Ravens and the Saints kick off the big game.