Bad Tuna

Bill Parcells recently said in an interview that he regrets leaving the New England Patriots job back in January of 1997. Yahoo did an article on Parcells and the comments.

Honestly, I’ve always thought Parcells was given way too much of a free pass for this move. The Pats lost the Super Bowl to Green Bay and Parcells didn’t even ride home with the team on the plane. That is mind boggling to me.

Parcells and owner Robert Kraft had some disagreements on how things should be done. Parcells now says he was “too headstrong”. Ya think?

The media has always loved Parcells so it doesn’t surprise me that more writers and TV analysts have been hesitant to rip him for how he handled the situation. Can you imagine if some young coach had done that? The uproar would have been overwhelming. Instead, it was just Tuna being Tuna.

What did Parcells walk away from? Yahoo talks about him leaving before “one of the great NFL dynasties took off”. Whoa, now.

Go look at the 1996 starters/roster.

Go look at the 2001 starters/roster.

There are some major differences. The two most important Patriots of them all were not acquired until 2000. That is Tom Brady and Richard Seymour. Brady was taken in the 6th round of the 2000 draft. Seymour was taken in the 1st round of the 2001 draft. Even OLB Mike Vrabel wasn’t signed as a free agent until 2001.

Parcells had a really good team put together in 1996. Drew Bledsoe was a star QB. Terry Glenn was a star rookie WR. Curtis Martin was a terrific workhorse RB. Ben Coates was a stud TE. The OL was solid. The defense had some really good pieces in Willie McGinest, Ted Johnson, Ty Law and Lawyer Milloy. That is a talented bunch of players.

But let’s not confuse that group with what the Pats did from 2001-2004 (and even since).

The Pats didn’t draft well when Tuna left. They got very little from the 1997-1999 years. I’m sure Tuna would have done better and added talent to his core. Let’s just not assume that somehow that group would have turned into the juggernaut Patriots that we know and have come to hate over the years.

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