Bill Parcells has had an interesting journey as a football coach. Growing up in New Jersey, he was once offered a baseball contract by the Philadelphia Phillies. Spurning the offer to heed the advice of his father, who wanted Parcells to be a lawyer, the lure of sports drew the young man to the gridiron.
He joined the football team in college, eventually became a good enough tackle to be drafted in the seventh round of the 1963 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. Hall of Fame wide receiver Bob "Bullet" Hayes was selected one pick ahead of Parcells, and Hall of Famers Leroy Kelly and Roger Staubach were drafted behind him.
Though he did not make the Lions team, Parcells was hooked on the game of football. He began to coach the game, since he couldn't play it any longer, working at seven different schools in 16 years.
The New York Giants hired the Jersey kid as their defensive coordinator in 1979. He only lasted a year, but he did meet special teams coach Bill Belichick, Hall of Fame middle linebacker Harry Carson, and a rookie quarterback named Phil Simms.
Belichick stayed in New York, but Parcells found a job as a linebackers coach for the New England Patriots in 1980. He lasted one season with the Patriots, but it was there he was first called "The Big Tuna."
Coming right back to the Giants, he stayed with the organization until 1996. He was promoted to head coach in 1983 and led the team to a pair of Super Bowl wins while being named Coach of the Year in three separate seasons by various publications.
After coaching stints with the Patriots, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys, he hung up his whistle to work in the Miami Dolphins front office for three seasons before retiring again. Now he can be found in the ESPN television studios offering his opinions on the NFL game.
Parcells was asked about Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman, who is coming off a 300-yard passing performance against Parcells beloved Giants. The "Big Tuna" did not hold back, which is on par for a man who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day.
It was obvious he is no fan of Rex Grossman, but that he does respect Redskins head coach Mike Shanahan. Perhaps some Washington fans do not want to hear a Giants great talk about their team, but that was what ESPN was paying him to do.
Parcells lamented how the Redskins will have to suffer with Grossman's penchant of making bad reads, forcing passes, getting attempts batted down, while letting open receivers go unnoticed by the quarterback. These criticisms have followed Grossman around ever since the days he played at the University of Florida.
But don't think Parcells spent his time in the ESPN studios just bashing Grossman. He pointed out that changes needed to be made on an aging Pittsburgh Steelers defense, comparing them to one of his former great Giants defenses. But he wasn't all glum, showing positive support for Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.
The Redskins face a Arizona Cardinals team that let a rookie quarterback set an NFL record on them last week by throwing for over 400 yards. Grossman is in his ninth season, so he has seen a lot more football than a rookie.
Will he continue to frustrate viewers by making unnecessary gambles? Yes. Will he do all of those things Parcells says Grossman does too often? Probably so.
But he is now at the Redskins helm and is opening the 2011 season against two of the weaker defenses in the league before heading to Texas to face their arch rival Cowboys. It is possible Grossman will have Washington at 4-0 before they face the Philadelphia Eagles, a team many think will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this season.
With the Redskins mediocre 2011 schedule, they will only face three respected defenses in the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins. Three teams, coincidentally, that Parcells worked for.
If Grossman plays the way Shanahan wants him to, his prediction of the Redskins winning the NFC East this year could be realized. It also may bring him another fan in the form of "The Big Tuna."