I know many Dolphins fans do not appreciate Bill Parcells.
Those fans see the Parcells time in Miami as a waste. They see Parcells as someone who came in, collected four years worth of salary for 34 months worth of work, and then cruised without leaving the Dolphins any different than they were when he took over as the club's ultimate football authority.
I don't see it that way soI want to take today, when Parcells makes his first attempt at being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, as the occasion to make my case.
Unpopular, my opinion? Probably.
But lay aside your emotions and consider the facts:
When Parcells took over the organization the Dolphins were a joke coming off a 1-15 season. They were the worst team in the NFL.
But on the day he took over they had instant credibility. The jokes stoppped. That was worth something.
Within six months they had Jake Long on the roster. Say whatever you will about Long, but his current career arc is not just of going to Pro Bowls, it is of someday being a Hall of Fame candidate as well. That was worth something.
Within 12 months of being hired the Dolphins made the playoffs by winning the AFC East title. Make whatever apologies for that you will -- the weak schedule, the fact Tom Brady was injured, whatever -- but the facts do not change. The Dolphins went to the playoffs after winning the division and that felt good at the time. It was a good feeling being relevant again -- no matter how fleeting the feeling was. That was worth something.
Parcells presided over three drafts in which he had ultimate power. And in those drafts the Dolphins blew two second-round picks on quarterbacks. I grant you that. But he never got a first rounder wrong. Unlike Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Nick Saban and Cam Cameron, Parcells got three good players -- Long, Vontae Davis and Jared Odrick -- out of three first-round picks. Not a bust among them. Dismiss that if you wish, but the facts are there wasn't a John Bosa, Yatil Green, John Avery, Ted Ginn or Jason Allen in the group. That was worth something.
Now Parcells is gone from Miami. And he failed to deliver a championship to the organization. But one of his two key hires is still running the football side of the team. Parcells hired Tony Sparano and Jeff Ireland and while Sparano failed and was fired, Ireland remains. I know many of you do not like Ireland, but that doesn't change the fact he's still running the show. And if he fails, then the two Parcells hires will go down as disasters. But if Ireland succeeds, Parcells should similarly get credit for bringing in a guy who helped the organization.
Disagree with that notion? Then you must disagree with Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin and all the pundits that matter covering Sunday's Super Bowl. This Super Bowl matches two former Parcells disciples as head coaches. Both have talked extensively about how Parcells affected their careers and was responsible for shaping their approaches. In that regard, this is a Bill Parcells Super Bowl. And if Jeff Ireland, whose chief mentor was Parcells, molds the Dolphins into a Super Bowl team, there is no way a logical person cannot understand the importance of Parcells in that.
So hate on Bill Parcells if you wish. He is not Nick Saban in that he never lied. He is not Johnson in that he never promised a championship in three years. He was the anti-Cameron in that rather than going 1-15 in year one, he delivered a division title in year one.
If that still leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, that's your business. I believe the Dolphins are better off now than they were when Parcells took over in 2008.
And I believe his entrance into the Hall of Fame is assured -- if not today, then soon.