DATELINE: Two Bills & Lots of Sense
ESPN’s latest documentary is a look at the remarkable relationship of two NFL coaches who figure prominently in the conversation of greats.
Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick cannot merely be compared as winning NFL coaches. They actually have linked together and bonded in a variety of ways over 40 years.
To put them together at a table in the football Giants locker room and let them watch and listen to clips may actually be a device to give viewers fireworks, contradictions, and hostility. Nothing could be further from the actual event.
You may be surprised what a loud extrovert and a introspective quiet man have in common. They were never friends, but were always respectful colleagues—even at times when tense competition separated them.
What they do have in common is an irascible controlling attitude. It may boil down to the kind of relationship you’d expect between an elder brother and his over-achieving younger sibling. They were rivals, but under the skin shared too much to be anything but blood kin.
Parcells always regretted not being more diplomatic and less inclined to fly off the handle. On the other hand, Belichick admired the way his mentor could deal with the media and see the big picture.
It winds up being a mutual admiration society now that the days of fiery fights across the field have come to an end. They have played golf together and enjoyed dinner to reconcile their former differences after the Jets flare-up when Belichick declined to be drafted into a bad coaching situation, as the heir apparent to Parcells. A Greek chorus of football greats and witnesses to their flare-ups and cool-downs adds to the history lesson.
Owner Robert Kraft slips between them, owing to fancy editing by the director, and notes the complex troubles of managing difficult coaches. It’s business, not friendship. It’s living with a colleague for years and never socially.
The Two Bills is a fascinating portrait of hard-driven men doing what they love with people they grow to love.
DATELINE: Patriots on Road Not Taken
Danger, Danger, Will Robinson—and you too Bill Belichick! All too often when the Patriots visit MetLife Stadium, they find themselves lost in space, knocked off by some Bloop. Giants killer Jason Pierre-Paul is making the sound of one hand clapping for all you Zen masters.
With winning teams gathering losses like rosebuds while they may, the Patriots have come to the fork in the road. Will they take it?
If they do, you can stick a fork in the Patriots.
Heretofore this season, only Aaron Rodgers and Peyton Manning have taken the road not taken. When you have a perfect record, you have to be suspicious of your GPS. You may be driving toward a bridge too far.
Robert Frost surely could tell you that playing the Giants has made all the difference on the journey of life. The road not taken is never the primrose path.
Many undefeated teams are guilty of driving off that far bridge before their chickens have hatched.
The Ides of the month often screw up the best laid plans of mice and caesars. You expect to pick up your victory laurels—and find yourself at the wrong end of a hilt or two.
We don’t want to hear Bill Belichick crying, “Great Caesar’s Ghost!” when the Giants do it again. However, Tom Coughlin looks like he is ready to haunt the house of the Patriots. The last thing we need is a bunch of Gronk-busters.
Will someone please put a stake in the heart of Tom Coughlin before he rises again?
DATELINE: Tom Brady’s Odyssey
He Smells the O-Line
The New England Patriots will play a game this week that resembles a trip to the dentist’s office. Is it that time again already? The old magazines in the waiting room all date back to various lost Super Bowls.
Several times over the past decade Tom Brady has gone to the Giant dentist to have his teeth polished—and discovered his gold fillings stolen.
There aren’t many teams that have put up a barber’s pole outside the stadium and cleaned, pressed, and wiped out the New England Patriots. These Giants are doing it with a pizza delivery boy’s younger brother.
Brady is first to acknowledge that he seems to come down with a bad case of cramps whenever the Giants smell his blood. It is always worse when you are locked in Tom Coughlin’s man-cave. Brady opens his mouth and develops flat feats.
You’d think by now that Tom would have read up on Odysseus and how he handled the one-eyed giant called Cyclops, clearly a distant relative of Peyton Manning. Cyclops’d eat up the O-line of Odysseus every time.
This week Tom may have noticed that his offensive linemen already chewed up and predigested. Fate has taken a bite out of his protection and left him looking like chopped liver.
If we seem nervous while awaiting this week’s trip to the dentist, you can understand fully that this situation and losing Dion Lewis, is like renting an apartment from your dentist. Not only is he counting your teeth, your lease is up at the end of the month and the moving truck has deflated tires.