The 30th member of the New England Patriots Hall Of Fame will be enshrined this summer.
The three candidates for induction are Bill Parcells, Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel. All three deserve this honor, but under the current system, only one will be chosen.
Who should this honor be bestowed upon first?
It is long overdue that former Head Coach Bill Parcells gets the Patriots’ red jacket to go along with his yellow jacket that he earned as a member of the Pro Football Hall Of Fame.
In the four seasons (1988-’92) before Parcells was hired, the Patriots compiled a woeful 14-50 record. The organization was the laughingstock of the NFL and was potentially relocating to St.Louis.
The day Parcells was hired, the team sold thousands of season tickets. The Patriots have since played before only sold-out home crowds. “Tuna” made the Patriots relevant as soon as he signed a contract with former owner James Orthwein.
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In his four seasons (1993-’96) as coach, the Patriots went 32-32. They qualified for the playoffs in 1994 and 1996, losing in Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers, Parcells last game with New England.
His exit was contentious as his relationship with owner Robert Kraft clearly deteriorated. Parcells went to the Jets and thus the “Border War” was born. Patriots’ fans looked at Parcells as a modern-day Benedict Arnold.
Now, 23 years later, can’t Patriots’ fans get over it and to bury the hatchet to vote into its Hall of Fame one of the greatest coaches in league history?
Simple answer, they should.
In four short seasons, Parcells stepped in and turned the team from “Stripes” to “Full Metal Jacket”.
He nurtured rookie quarterback Drew Bledsoe into a star. His drafts were outstanding. The core of the Patriots Super Bowl winning defense from the early 2000s was put together by Parcells.
These are defensive players drafted by Parcells:
1994- Willie McGinest
1995- Ty Law
1996- Lawyer Milloy
Before the ’96 season, Parcells brought his former Giants’ Defensive Coordinator Bill Belichick on board as his Assistant Head Coach. We know the rest of the story. Belichick, after three years with Parcells with the Jets, returned to Foxboro where he has won six Super Bowls in 19 seasons.
Without Parcells, who knows where the franchise would be and what it would have accomplished.
That being said, the process should change. Put forth five nominees with two inductees every year. There is a logjam since the franchise is now 60-years-old and has been the league’s most dominant in the last two decades.
Voting ends on May 8th. A recent poll that I conducted @johnsap25 shows Richard Seymour lapping the field with 70% of the vote. Parcells and Vrabel are both at 15%.
Seymour and Vrabel deserve this honor as well but since Parcells is 78 years old put the Tuna in the Patriots Hall now. He deserves it.
John Sapochetti is Co-Host
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