Bill Parcells and the New Orleans Saints are seriously discussing the possibility of the future Hall-of-Fame coach joining the New Orleans Saints on an interim basis while Sean Payton serves his NFL-mandated one-year suspension in 2012.
Mainly because Payton knows Parcells after working under him for three years in Dallas. Payton considers Parcells his mentor, and as such, he has recommended him.
At the moment, it appears the Saints have budged and are seriously considering Parcells for the job. Before I make it seem as if I'm totally turned off to the idea, let me quickly give you the reasons it could work.
Parcells has, of course, been a great coach, and his philosophies are already influential with the Saints franchise. It's not as if the "Big Tuna" would have to completely change the culture the minute he walks in the door. In fact, he won't have to do any culture changing at all.
He also walks into a room with great leadership, yet Parcells would command respect due to his pedigree and the fact that he was essentially hand chosen by the team's leader. And he doesn't have to call plays or worry about schemes. All he really has to do is provide oversight to the squad.
That said, there is a better choice—Pete Carmichael Jr.
Though Carmichael first called plays last season after Payton injured virtually every part his left leg in a sideline collision, he is uniquely placed in a situation in which he really can't fail.
He was genuinely considered for multiple head-coaching positions this offseason and figures to get one in a year or two. Though no one is going to credit Carmichael for being the architect of the Saints offense, in some ways the unit played better post-Payton play-calling in 2011.
He is almost certain to continue to call a great offense in 2012, no matter what else happens this offseason to the Saints. He will call plays, and he will do a great job again in 2012.
Here's the thing, though, even with all that said, Drew Brees is in many ways his own offensive coordinator. He is checking off regularly and nearly always makes the right calls. That factor makes Carmichael look like a genius.
And that's okay.
The offensive coordinator's job isn't to make himself look good; it's to make the players look good. Carmichael is positioned high enough on the food chain where he can call the plays as an interim head coach, let Brees handle the majority of the calls at the line and have it still reflect positively on himself.
There's one other major factor involved. Carmichael knows the players, offense and defense; Parcells does not. He may know of them, but he doesn't have the day-in, day-out relationship that Carmichael does.
Even Steve Spagnuolo, another name proposed by some due to his head-coaching experience, cannot claim that type of relationship.
The players will respond to Carmichael because they know him intimately.
Sure, the NFL is more about X's and O's than the college or high school game, but don't dismiss that personal element. It is real, and it matters.
Tom Benson, Mickey Loomis and the Saints organization ought to remember that too.