There are understandable reasons why Hall-of-Fame coach Bill Parcells turned down the New Orleans Saints head coaching job, but that doesn't mean he won't regret missing out what appeared to be a perfect situation for one last go-around on an NFL sideline.
Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reported Tuesday that Parcells informed the Saints that he will not be taking the interim job and is staying retired. New Orleans will move their coaching search forward, likely looking internally to replace suspended head coach Sean Payton for the 2012-'13 season.
Parcells was an intriguing candidate to take that role.
Given his close relationship with Payton, stemming back from his days coaching in Dallas, Parcells appeared to be the kind of experienced leader that will stay the course that Payton had laid so well in New Orleans over the last handful of seasons.
In the end, the 70-year-old Parcells decided to avoid the circus that is likely to be the Saints' 2012 season. The decision also allows Parcells' Hall of Fame induction to stay on its current schedule, given he's voted in as part of this year's class.
But assuming Parcells still has the itch to coach—and by all accounts, he likely does—few situations would have been as perfect as the one the Saints were ready to hand him.
That's been my life. I love the game. The NFL has been good to me. If you like competition, Sunday at one o'clock, it's there for you.
Parcells could have stepped in as the face of the football team, relegated a number of the important responsibilities to assistants Pete Carmichael and Steve Spagnuolo and then done his best to keep a team that still has the talent to make noise in the NFC in the playoff hunt. A few things bounce New Orleans' way and the Saints could have found themselves in a position to make another Super Bowl run, even after everything that has transpired this summer.
He would have done it all for a good friend, a man he said he felt "obligated" to help as recently as two weeks ago.
Now that the Saints are likely to bounce around leaders while suspensions shake out for assistant head coach Joe Vitt, it's hard to see a culture of winning happening early for New Orleans next season.
Parcells certainly avoided a circus that would have been unquestionably difficult to manage. But you have to think Parcells looked long and hard at what kind of opportunity that would have been, and what a perfect fit it would have been for most people involved.
He didn't pull the trigger on the job, but that doesn't mean he won't regret taking one last crack at commanding a sideline.