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Old 12-11-2005, 05:00 AM  
Bob Dole Bob Dole is offline
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Vermeil: I'm not as tough as I should be.

Old-school showdown
Parcells and Vermeil are proving their era of football remains as relevant as ever

By MAC ENGEL
STAR-TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

Drew Bledsoe ran on a treadmill when Bill Parcells strode into the weight room, and in a few seconds the Cowboys' coach was teasing players.

I didn't realize you were with child. If you were my daughter I'd be real proud of how much you lifted.

"What are you going to do? Are you going to go to Gold's Gym and cuss guys out?" the quarterback asked his coach during an off-season workout. "You can't leave this. You love this."

No matter how much Parcells loves it, he will have to leave (again) the game that defines him. But today, Parcells and Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil will square off in the fictional Geezer Bowl unofficially sponsored by Ensure. Vermeil at 69 and Parcells at 64 are the NFL's oldest and third-oldest active coaches.

They are from a different era of football, of men. Before the days of high ankle sprains, sports hernias or DVDs. When aspiring coaches walked five miles to work uphill, both ways, just to wash the jerseys. When coaches could curse players without fear of backlash.

But as contemporaries and loved ones either retire or pass on, both men are confronted with life's realities, and that while their professional legacy is ensured their tenure is year to year.

"I don't know how to explain it, but I'm at the age now where there are a lot of things that are starting to become more important to me," Parcells said. "I don't say more important than football, but I think about other things a lot more than I used to and the events of this fall have certainly made me cognizant of things."

When Jones hired Parcells or the Chiefs the same with Vermeil, it was with the tacit understanding it was not long term. Age will get in the way. Life will get in the way.

For Parcells, the deaths of his younger brother, Don, and close friend, New York Giants owner Wellington Mara, has caused him to reflect.

Parcells is in the third year of a four-year contract, and it appears that he will return to complete the deal. Of course, the Cowboys missing the playoffs could change his mind.

Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones sees nothing to suggest that Parcells has lost any passion for the game. But it will come. The profession does it.

"You get to a certain age where it takes a toll," former 49ers coach Bill Walsh said. "If you are a coach who does nothing but delegate, meets with the media and reads the sports page, that's one thing. But I know coach Parcells is involved in every detail of that organization."

Despite the experience and growing more comfortable in their own skin, it doesn't make coaching easy. Nothing is easy for a Type A-plus personality such as Parcells. There is some comfort and familiarity in the misery of the routine.

Vermeil went through that misery, and it wasn't until he took a 14-year break between coaching jobs that he was able to correct some of the things that led him to quit after the 1982 season. But the time off took some of the edge off.

"You get older and you are too understanding and sometimes you feel bad for the kid for making a mistake," said Vermeil, who is noncommittal if he will return next season. "I wish I could be more like [Parcells]. I could coach a little bit longer. I'm not as tough as I should be. Bill is tough by nature."

It's that toughness, real or not, that separates Parcells and Vermeil from the majority of their coaching counterparts. That the dues they have paid, and skins they have allow a certain degree of political incorrectness and grumpiness.

Often it is their indifference to popular opinion that makes them popular. They are the way things used to be.

"One reason I like [Giants coach] Tom Coughlin is because he was lining the field at Rochester Institute of Technology," Parcells said. "He was doing what I was doing at Hastings (Neb.), and Vermeil was doing it at some school in San Mateo. ... It really wasn't the hard way, it was the educational way. You learned to appreciate things."

There are a few others out there -- Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, San Diego Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer, and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick -- but only a few. It is not a dying breed, but a changing breed.

A breed that will be celebrated today at the Geezer Bowl.


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Old 12-11-2005, 05:07 AM   #2
Rausch Rausch is offline
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Funny.

The natural reaction is to beat my chest and compare DV's coaching record to Parcells.

Then I think about both men and NEITHER of them look anywhere close to being done with football. They just don't look "old."

I don't see either of them leaving after this year...
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Old 12-11-2005, 05:44 AM   #3
old_geezer old_geezer is offline
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A breed that will be celebrated today at the Geezer Bowl.

A bowl in my honor? I'm touched.......really,really touched. Has such a lovely ring to it.
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:39 AM   #4
Bob Dole Bob Dole is offline
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"You get older and you are too understanding and sometimes you feel bad for the kid for making a mistake," said Vermeil, who is noncommittal if he will return next season. "I wish I could be more like [Parcells]. I could coach a little bit longer. I'm not as tough as I should be. Bill is tough by nature."
Judging by his "It's not do-or-die yet" comment, he's still not as tough as he should be.
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Old 12-16-2005, 06:48 AM   #5
ptlyon ptlyon is online now
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Wow. Major follow up.

Still pissy?

I am.

http://www.chiefsplanet.com/BB/showt...ighlight=lamar
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Old 12-16-2005, 09:46 AM   #6
Mr. Laz Mr. Laz is offline
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Vermeil: I'm not as tough as I should be
not as smart either imo
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