Jun 242013

Bill Parcells is set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The massive one they call the Tuna (most affectionately so, some derisively) says he regrets the way things ended in New England with the Patriots new owner Bob Kraft, according to Yahoo Sports:

Former NFL coach Bill Parcells recently told USA Today that he regrets the way his relationship ended with the New England Patriots as he prepares for his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

Parcells, who will be inducted at Canton, Ohio on Aug. 3, left the team on bad terms with owner Bob Kraft after guiding it to the Super Bowl in January 1997.

“I regret leaving New England,” Parcells said. “Had we done things differently. … I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do.

“I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

Parcells was replaced by Pete Carroll, who coached the Patriots for three seasons before Bill Belichick took over in 2000.

Under Belichick, the Patriots have advanced to five Super Bowls, winning three of them. He was coach of the New York Jets for just one day before bolting for New England when Parcells departed.

Parcells and Kraft have since made up. The two were in a power struggle over having the final say in football decisions. Parcells famously said, “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.”

Kraft said their truce occurred 10 years ago.

“At a Super Bowl, Bill was standing there as I approached, and he just said to me, ‘If I had to do it all over again. I would have done things differently.’ And I said, ‘So would I,’ ” Kraft recalled.

After the Patriots lost to the Green Bay Packers, Parcells took a consultant job with the Jets and soon became head coach. The Jets had to send four draft picks to the Patriots as compensation.

The two clashed over egos. Parcells had won two Super Bowls as coach of the New York Giants and Kraft was a naive, new owner.

“When I bought the team in 1994 … he was coaching year to year, making personnel decisions,” Kraft recalled. “He used to drive down to (his home in) Jupiter, Fla., at the end of the year and he’d say he’d decide whether he was coming back to coach. That didn’t inspire confidence in me.”

Parcells coached the Jets through 1999, then the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-06, and was the Miami Dolphins’ executive vice president of football operations 2008-10. He was 172-130-1 in the regular season and 11-8 in the playoffs as a coach.

Parcells, who would eventually succeed the successors of Jimmy Johnson as head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, took a similar path as Johnson. Each man prematurely left an organization he had built into a powerhouse and potential dynasty. Each did so because of massive ego clashes. Bob Kraft and Jerry Jones, both successful and bullish businessmen, would not be relegated to the sideline of the teams they owned. Parcells and Johnson were football men accustomed to having the limelight and the say so over football operations. Boston was not big enough for Kraft and Parcells and Dallas was not big enough for Johnson and Jones. Massive ego clashes lead to bitter departures.

Kraft and Parcells made up, apparently. They each admitted to mistakes and regrets.

Johnson and Jones made up as well, but neither has owned up to making a mistake or having a regret. Each still stubbornly sticks to his guns. Johnson still takes potshots at Jones, claiming his contract gave him oversight of all football decision. Jones still insists HE was the GM of those three Super Bowl teams in the 1990s.

Imagine what Parcells and Kraft or Johnson and Jones might have achieved if no one had cared who got the credit.

As it turned out, the Cowboys did win another Super Bowl after Jones paid Johnson to go away and the Patriots hit the jackpot with Bellichick.

Still, you have to wonder what might have been.