Just a couple of weeks prior to his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Bill Parcells was asked today on a media conference call if any of his coaching jobs stood out above the rest.
"One of my better coaching jobs was with the New York Jets," he said in response to a question from Newsday'sBob Glauber. "We lost our quarterback and started off 1-6, and we were able to eventually get to 8-8. Holding that team together to accomplish that I think was probably one of the better things."
After advancing to the conference championship game in 1998, many pundits expected the Jets to have a super season in '99. But QB Vinny Testaverde ruptured his Achilles in Week 1 loss to the Patriots (RB-KR Leon Johnson and LB Chad Cascadden also were lost to season-enders) and New York's AFC representative had only had one victory — ironically a Week 4 triumph over the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos in Denver — before the bye in Week 8.
But the Green & White lost only twice in the season's second half. Ray Lucas took over down the stretch and the Jets beat three playoff teams — Miami Dolphins (2x), Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks — to win their last four.
"That wasn't any monumental success or anything," Parcells said. "But I think most coaches will tell you when you start 1-6, it's tough to maintain the things that you need to be successful."
Last August, Parcells presented Curtis Martin in Canton, OH as the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history was a member of the 2012 class.
"I kind of know the drill now and have the ability to anticipate things. I think the (HOF Gold Jacket) dinner will probably be pretty emotional because that's where I first felt a sense myself last year in presenting Curtis," he said. "I think that was the first time I said, 'Hey Man, this is something. Something important is happening here.' I think that will be probably when it kind of dawns on me."
Martin delivered a memorable induction speech and included some of the most rewarding lessons he received from Parcells.
"He said some people just do the same routine over and over again in life. He said some people even get better at that same routine over and over in life," Martin said. "But there are few people who commit to the next level. And I tell you —that left an impression on me that even though I knew I had worked hard, it made me work harder. And I applied that principle to every facet of my life. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, however it may have been, I'm always trying to commit to the next level."
Martin spoke from the heart that day and it sounds like Parcells has similar plans for August 3, 2013.
"I haven't written anything down nor probably will I write too much down," he said. "I'm just going to get it up there and try to thank the people who had something to do with me being there and telling you maybe just one or two things about my experience as a coach and what are the important things I got from that experience."