View Full Version : AP: Parcells and Vermeil: Mutual admiration, opposite styles

Bob Dole
12-10-2005, 02:56 PM
Associated Press

IRVING, Texas - After spending last season and this summer with the Kansas City Chiefs, safety Willie Pile and linebacker Scott Fujita joined the Dallas Cowboys a week before this season began.

When did they first notice the difference between playing for Dick Vermeil and Bill Parcells?

"The first practice," Pile said, laughing. "We got out there ... and it was like, `This ain't Kansas.'"

Parcells and Vermeil are both Super Bowl-winning coaches known for getting the most out of their players - but with highly contrasting styles.

Parcells needles his guys with witty, sometimes cruel wisecracks, usually about what they can't do. That tough-love approach challenges players to prove that they can do.

Vermeil is equally demanding but uses an affectionate approach that makes players eager to please him. When they do, he's liable to start bawling.

When it comes down to it, both coaches are football lifers, which is why they also share a friendship filled with mutual respect and admiration. They speak several times each season, but they'll get the rare chance to catch up in person Sunday when their teams meet at Texas Stadium.

"Sometimes I call him and ask for an opinion or to see how he's doing," Vermeil said. "He loves what he's doing and there's nobody better at it."

Parcells said he admires Vermeil's "tremendous resolve."

"This guy is a very straightforward, honest, candid guy. I like that in my profession," Parcells said. "I think he's had an impact on a lot of people in a really positive way. As a coach, if any of us that are worth a damn hope for a legacy, that's what you would hope it was. ... He has a lot of respect for this game and a lot of respect for his predecessors. That's very important to me."

The Chiefs (8-4) come in on a three-game winning streak, while the Cowboys (7-5) have lost two in a row. Both are second in their division, one game out of the lead, and among a pack of teams vying for wild-card spots, so the stakes go way beyond one coach trying to top the other.

The relationship between the coaches dates to 1981, when Vermeil was in his sixth year running the Philadelphia Eagles and Parcells was breaking in as defensive coordinator of the New York Giants.

Vermeil was 10-0 against the Giants going into that season, then won again in the opener. Preparing for the rematch in late November, Vermeil was struck by how much New York's defense had improved. So before the game, Vermeil sought Parcells and told him, "Young man, you've sure made a difference in this football team."

"I really was very impressed with what he'd done with that defense and how his players were reacting to his coaching," Vermeil said. "Some young coaches, you can just tell they have a great future in the profession."

The Giants beat the Eagles that day. They met a month later in the playoffs and New York won that one, too. New York took both games the following season, Vermeil's last in Philadelphia.

In 1983, Parcells took over the Giants and Vermeil began a career in broadcasting. While Vermeil was in the booth, Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants, then got the Patriots to the Super Bowl.

They remained friendly enough that when Vermeil was deciding whether to get back into coach with St. Louis in 1997, Parcells was among the people he asked for advice.

"He was telling me how much he changed and how he had better control of his emotions," Parcells said. "He was going to do things a lot differently and he could handle situations a lot better. I told him that was all fine during the draft and the preseason. Then when you lose three straight you're going to be the same guy you always were. He laughed at that."

They coached against each other for the first time in 1998, when Parcells was with the New York Jets. Vermeil's Rams won 30-10; it was one of only four losses the Jets had en route to the AFC championship game. A year later, the Rams won the Super Bowl.

Now both coaches are in the twilight of their careers, making this second matchup likely their last, unless they meet in the Super Bowl. There's speculation Vermeil will retire again after this season, while there's no telling what Parcells will do with one year left on his contract.

"If he's not slowed down, he's not human," Vermeil said. "I'll tell you I've slowed by this time of year a little bit. It can wear your rear end out. But when you win, you all of a sudden forget those losses."

Source (http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/local/13378202.htm)