It’s easy to understand why Saints coach Sean Payton would want Bill Parcells to serve as the team’s interim head coach during Payton’s suspension. With a one-year-only outsider stepping in, the chances of Parcells later stepping on Payton’s toes would dramatically decrease.
And while it seemed unthinkable that Parcells would take the job when the news first broke on Tuesday that Payton had talked to Parcells about it (especially since Parcells dramatically downplayed the possibility), a strange sense of momentum seems to be building toward the move.
Peter King of SI.com has offered up five reasons why Parcells would say “yes,” even though in his comments to King from Monday it seemed that Parcells was poised to pass. But there are still potential complications and other warning signs that would make an obvious quick fix seem like a long shot.
For example, Parcells is a firm believer in surrounding himself with his guys. The closest connection on the Saints’ staff comes from defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who spent two years with former Parcells assistant Tom Coughlin in New York. Parcells surely wouldn’t be as comfortable with brand-new personalities, some of whom may not be enthusiastic about taking a knee and kissing the ring.
Also, if the Saints go outside the team for an interim hire, they must comply with the Rooney Rule. But since, as Commissioner Roger Goodell said Monday, the Saints can’t hire someone who is currently under contract with another team, the Saints would have to find a minority candidate who currently is out of the NFL and who would willingly participate in a sham interview at a time when everyone knows that Parcells is the guy.
The better approach would seem to be hiring Parcells as a consultant and assigning him to help G.M. Mickey Loomis with football decisions, since Loomis doesn’t have the classic personnel evaluation background. This would also allow Parcells to take the reins completely during the eight-game suspension Loomis will begin to serve once the regular season begins. (This approach also would presumably not re-set his Hall of Fame clock to zero, given that the five-year period ran even when he served as V.P. of football operations in Miami.)
Parcells’ potential involvement gives rise to a separate problem. It’s widely recognized that Parcells does whatever Parcells well wants to do, and if he wants to communicate with Payton via a pair of bat phones and/or walkie talkies and/or tin cans on a string, Parcells is damn sure going to do it. Unless the NFL plans to continuously monitoring everything Payton says and does, there will be no way to stop it.
I talked a little bit more about the topic, or perhaps said some of the same things, during Tuesday’s PFT Live.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!