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"Charles" in charge?

Is Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells in charge in Dallas or not? Today we have two different columnists with their own takes on Bill Parcells, the limits of his authority, and how it is intertwined with the Cowboys enigmatic WR Terrell Owens.

Over at the DFW-ST, Jim Reeves argues that Parcells is not the dictator, that he shares power with others. He posits Parcells was not "really" in favor of Owens joining the Cowboys, but is going along with it in a desperate gamble to win now, before he retires.

That distinction falls instead to one Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells and the question that has hovered around the Cowboys like a black cloud since he finally broke his silence and addressed the Owens signing publicly for the first time back in May

Does Parcells run this team or not?

The crux of his argument relies on statements Parcells made about decisions being made by consensus at Valley Ranch, and that he can be overruled. To me, this sounds like Parcells playing nice. What's the alternative, to say that he makes all the decisions and that Jerry Jones has no say in it? That's just dumb politics, there's no reason to draw Jones into the uncomfortable position of having to say that, yes, Parcells holds all the power or stating the converse and disagreeing with Parcells publicly. Instead, Parcells made the smart choice of treading a middle-ground and defusing any potential public clash between himself and the owner. I suspect that Parcells statements are close to the truth, but in the end, if Parcells wanted to draw a line in the sand - if he really didn't want Owens in Dallas - he could've stood his ground and Jones would've acquiesced.

But Parcells is desperate to win a Super Bowl before he retires, and believes that Owens could be a part of that equation. He probably also believes in his own reputation as the ultimate handler of problem children in the NFL.

That brings us to Richard Oliver's column in the San Antonio Express-News, where he argues that Parcells' solid control over his own team will be just the kind of firm hand Terrell Owens needs.

The wideout will learn soon enough, if he hasn't already, what flawed characters such as Bryan Cox, Lawrence Taylor and Keyshawn Johnson learned in toiling under Parcells in previous campaigns.

The pressure is off.

Because you're not in charge.

We've discussed this topic before at BTB, that Owens' previous coaches were too permissive and didn't have the gravitas that Parcells wields as an NFL head coach. Because of Parcells legendary status, Owens may take criticism from Parcells in a much more constructive way then he did from Mariucci or Reid. Owens demands respect from others, but seems to be less confrontational toward those he respects, Jerry Rice being a good example.

The theory goes that because Owens probably has a great deal of respect for Parcells going into the season, he will be more willing to accept Parcells' mandates. Whether this plays out or not is hard to predict with any certainty. But if past history is any indication, Owens will either subdue his antagonistic nature, or he will meet the same fate as other players who have challenged Parcells past a point of no return.

That is, of course, if Duane Charles "Bill" Parcells is really still in charge in Big D.

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