When the head coach of your team is Bill Belichick, it's easy to forget about the other Bill who had a tremendous positive impact on this franchise. As Bill Parcells takes his rightful place among the other inductees into the NFL Hall of Fame tonight, I wanted to take a minute to remember and thank the man who turned what was once the laughingstock of the entire league into a legitimate contender.
Parcells was only with the Patriots for four years, from 1993-1996, but in that short time, he left an indelible mark on the team that still resonates today. In 1992, New England was a woeful 2-14, good enough for last place in the league. In those days, getting 20,000 fans into Foxboro Stadium was considered a huge win, and only losing a game by six (which they did once, that year, losing 6-0 to the Colts) was as good as a victory. But with Bill Parcells came a new era in Patriots football, one that is still going strong all these years later. Starting with his first ever draft pick, Drew Bledsoe, Parcells took the Pats from the very bottom of the National Football League to AFC Champions in a few short years. A team that was had a record of 14-50 in the four seasons before Parcells was hired climbed out of the basement, established a winning culture, and have pretty much been in the playoff conversation ever since. He finished his time in New England with a 32-32 record, a significant improvement from the .125 win percentage he walked into. He paved the way for the culture we are all so fond of, trained the coach that we love so much, and built the foundation for what may end up being the last NFL Dynasty.
His career spanned four different teams, and he will most likely be remembered for his Super Bowl winning New York Giants, but I'd be remiss if I didn't at least mention him today and acknowledge everything that he did for the Patriots. For the first time in my life, being a Pats fan was fun, and I have Parcells to thank for that.