Everyone agrees the Miami Dolphins resurrection in 2008 was quickened by the hiring of football czar Bill Parcells.
But with the end of the season looming -- whether it be after today's game or after the Super Bowl -- the Dolphins are scheduled to change ownership and that has a definite impact on Parcells.
I am told as we sit here today the chances are "extremely good" Parcells will return to the Dolphins for the 2009 season despite the change in ownership.
Yes, Parcells signed a four-year contract with Wayne Huizenga last December, which suggests he has three more years remaining in Miami regardless. But the truth is Parcells is 67 years old and suffered some health issues earlier this year. So for him, football is really a year to year question regardless of what a contract might suggest.
Parcells also has a clause in his contract that allows him to walk away from the Dolphins if, at any point, Huizenga is not his immediate boss. And that clause would require the Dolphins to pay Parcells the entire remaining portion of the contract, or $9 million after this season.
ESPN reported in its pregame show that the clause has to be used within 30 days of Huizenga no longer being Miami's owner. Here's the story.
That brings us to incoming owner Stephen Ross. He has had casual contact with Parcells in recent months. But he wants to formalize the relationship with Parcells. He doesn't want Parcells using the opt-out clause. So why would Parcells do that when he holds all the cards now?
Can you say pay raise?
Don't be surprised if Ross and Parcells negotiate a pay increase from the $3 million Parcells now makes annually. Parcells is not at the Meadowlands today but Ross is scheduled to be here and agent Jimmy Sexton, who represents Parcells, is also at the game today. It's not a stretch for them to discuss the matter, at least in principle, as early as today.
That all assumes Ross vows to continue allowing Parcells the wide latitude on the football operations side that Huizenga delivered. The chances are very slim Ross would risk alienating Parcells by asking the czar to have a relationship that is any different than the one that has brought Miami such success this season.
The only scenario I can imagine that might lure Parcells out of Miami? If the Jets lose today and ownership is so angered by the team's failure that New York's GM and coach are fired, Parcells might be convinced to rejoin the team he once coached and was general manager for earlier this decade.
Can you imagine?