If the location was Valley Ranch on Friday, then Bill Parcells was the longhorn steer and the press were a gaggle of gnats. Parcells swatted them away with the ease of George Clooney scoring at the Playboy Mansion. They were simply over-matched. By my count, it was exctly 29 minutes and 13 seconds into the press conference before one plucky reporter asked if it was OK to talk about the draft now. The gnats should've surrendered about 20 minutes earlier. Sure, they needed to ask their Terrell Owens questions, but that didn't mean Parcells was going to take the cheese. Like a crafty bob-and-weave fighter, he parried, played defense, and flicked his jab whenever it was needed. The press was itching for a controversy, what they got is a plateful of Tuna.
Bill Parcells has been at this a long time, so he played the teacher, imparting his collective wisdom on the young grasshoppers, and on the older ones, too. Collective was a word Parcells used over and over again in the press conference, as in a "collective decision". It was almost like a talking point to any question that even vaguely inferred he and Jerry weren't on the same page. One meant to both defuse controversy and throw a bone to Jerry Jones and Jeff Ireland, but one that had enough truth in it to stop dead any thoughts of pursuing the question further. Whenever someone tried, he whipped out the collective card again and threw some fluff on top.
Here's the thing with the Tuna, while he dodges the actual question asked, he throws in enough interesting information to keep you distracted; you're too busy processing the new Parcell's wisdom. And then, it's off to the next question. Like the fact that he's changed the prototype of what kind of player the Cowboys should be signing. He tells you that what the Cowboys wanted before he got here was a totally different kind of player. So everybody is now thinking about that kind of player. What kind of player was it? Smurf linebackers? Was this a Jerry Jones type player? Boom. Parcells is on to the next question.
Parcells likes to play possum and he does it oh so well. It's hard to believe he doesn't know anything about Terrell's TV show production deal or the book coming out. But what are you going to do? Say he has to know? That's not going to get you anywhere. So now your stuck. Instead of saying what he really thinks about those things, he just says he doesn't know anything about them. Whether he does or not, we'll never know, but that's his point. Now you're debating how he couldn't know about them when the real issue is how would he feel about them now that he knows. To really kill the question, he flips it around and says if someone offered you money to write a book, you probably would, too. And he has a point; Terrell is free to write a book. After all, one of Parcells all-time favorite players once upon a time wrote a pretty controversial book entitled, "Just Give Me The Damn Ball!".
Noted for his love of baseball, Bill Parcells will throw the curveball in any count. This also puts the reporters off their game. Some reporter thought he would be funny and insult agent Drew Rosenhaus, joining just about everybody in America, yours truly included. So what happens? Parcells throws a wicked deuce - the curveball. Little did we know that Drew Rosenhaus is one Parcells' favorite people. He tells you Drew's lifestory; a self-made man, works out of an office with only two other people, and always anwers his phone. Instead of thinking about what a lying miserable snake Rosenhaus is, I'm thinking, temporarily, maybe I've mis-judged this guy. Maybe he isn't so bad after all. Later I will come to my senses, but that's plenty of time for Bill to move on to the next question.
We finally did get to some questions about the draft and coaches and stuff. But by then the fight was long over. There was going to be no controversy on this day. Think about it. What was the most shocking thing Parcells said today? For me, it had to be when Parcells told us that our new waterbug of a kick returner was too fat. That would've been the very last person on my list who I thought Parcells would call fat. 10 seconds later the Skyler Green watch began. I breathlessly await the first article about the "growing rift" between the coach and the rookie. Hey, you take controversy where you can get it.
Big Bill actually discussed some solid football stuff, especially about the 2-TE set. He also told us he thinks the offensive line will be OK and that Julius wasn't going to be traded at the draft. He managed to work in some of his trademark humor when he said he could line up Jason Fabini backwards, and he still wouldn't give up 15 sacks. It's all part of the Parcells package.
Unfortunately, we didn't get enough football strategy and draft talk in this press conference. A clearing of the air was needed first, the press needed to ask their questions. It was all T.O. for 29 minutes and 13 seconds. The press pressed and Parcells toyed with them. Using his full arsenal of Jedi mind tricks, Parcells gave them a lot of nothing that sounded like a lot of something. They tried to get him to slip-up, to say something that would write their headline. Parcells is no fool and that didn't happen. So I'll write the headline for them: Parcells 1 - Press 0.