There are times I learn something from watching ESPN. Normally that happens on Baseball Tonight or when John Clayton, Chris Mortensen or Adam Schefter are sharing the fruits of their reporting.
The jockocrasy, as Howard Cosell used to call it? Not too enlighting.
I tell you that because Keshawn Johnson, part of the legions of former athletes that now are acting like they can analyze the game simply because they played the game, said Wednesday during an ESPN conference call that Bill Parcells is stepping into the shadows in Miami, even as this preseason has shown how the team belongs more and more to coach Tony Sparano.
“You can see where the Miami Dolphins of the preseason are starting to look like a Tony Sparano football team, under the guise of him more so than it was under Coach Parcells last year,” said Johnson, who was coached by Parcells with the New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys. “I can tell that Tony’s running the team more, and less of Bill having his hand in the situation.”
Johnson went on to stay Parcells would not stay with the Dolphins "beyond his obligation."
Really? So Johnson is "reporting" Parcells, who weighed walking away last offseason, will finally walk away once his current contract expires? When he's 70 years old? In 2011?
Look, the Dolphins this time of year are undoubtedly Sparano's team. He is, after all, the head coach.
But to suggest Parcells somehow has lost any interest or influence, or has become worn or tired of the team is simply dead wrong. Parcells is at practically every practice the team conducts. He engages aggressively with players. He determines the vision for drafting. He determines the vision for re-signing free agents and signing new ones.
When general manager Jeff Ireland wanted to trade for Tony McDaniel in the offseason, he got approval from Parcells first.
Parcells will not travel to away games this season. He's not in New Orleans for tonight's preseason-finale against the Saints. But he didn't travel to away games last year and he watches the games on TV and studies the film and makes decisions based on what happens in this and every game.
Bill Parcells is engaged and this is as much his team this year as it was last year.
Will he step away when his contract is up? Probably. He might leave before then, even. But by any measure, the Dolphins are every bit a Bill Parcells project today as they ever were.