Parcells to Saints seems more like a reality than a long shot at this point

Bill Parcells can’t help himself, can he? The man can’t not coach when an opportunity presents itself.

Call it a hunch, a gut feeling, or just history simply repeating itself but I think the Big Tuna will wind up taking the Saints’ interim coaching job this season. And his recent comments to Chris Mortensen don’t suggest otherwise.

“If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll think it over and clearly I’m in some phase of the process without knowing whether it’s going to become a reality,” Parcells told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen by phone on Wednesday. “Sean’s become a dear, dear friend. I’m trying to be a friend.

“You know, when I was a young coach, there were people like Chuck Noll, Chuck Knox and Tom Landry who were there for me. I think to honor those guys who helped me, you turn around and pass that legacy on to somebody else and Sean’s an example of that. If he needs me and the owner and GM feel the same way, then I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t consider it.”

Does that sound like a man who wants to keep hanging out with his buddy Bobby Knight while relaxing in his home in Florida? It doesn’t to me. If Parcells didn’t want the job he may lead the media on for a little while but eventually he would simply and bluntly say, “I’m not coming back.”

It’s been a week since Mortensen reported that Sean Payton would approach Parcells about coaching the Saints next season and the story has yet to go off quietly into the good night. Maybe this is the juncture where Parcells is just playing the media but again, it makes too much sense for him to try his hand again at coaching.

Parcells craves being coveted and as he’s suggested, he’s interested in helping one of his protégés. The Saints are a perfect fit because they’re already modeled somewhat after Parcells himself. Granted, Parcells has always preferred a tough defense over a finesse-oriented offense, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t relish watching Drew Brees run Payton’s aggressive attack up close. (Payton was also his QB/Assistant coach in Dallas so obviously he’s fond of Payton and his offensive ideologies.) Plus, teamed with new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, he could hand-pick players to rebuild the Saints’ defense. They already added run-stuffing middle linebacker Curtis Lofton earlier this week, and with Parcells’ help as a talent evaluator, they could address holes along the defensive line and outside ‘backer.

If it were another team, I would be more hesitant to suggest that Parcells would come back. But because he knows it’ll only be for one year and he doesn’t have to completely start from scratch (the Saints are already a Super Bowl contender), he can go after his third championship and then exit stage left next January or February. Maybe his heart isn’t in it to deal with the media, but I think he’ll overlook that one aspect for a golden opportunity to win another title.

Update: As I was writing this, Mortensen said on SportsCenter that his “gut feeling” is Pracells will be the Saints’ head coach.

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