Bill Parcells didn’t win a pair of Super Bowls with the New York Giants by being pals with his players. He may have respected them for their performance, but he’d also chew them out when necessary. It’s how NFL coaches avoid becoming ex-coaches. The no-nonsense approach also applied to his staff on the Giants, the New York Jets, and elsewhere.
No one escaped his wrath when they screwed up – not even his future son-in-law.
The Bill Parcells coaching tree includes well-known names
The list of NFL coaches owing their start to Bill Parcells or spending part of their careers with him ranks as one of the best in the business. It includes current head coaches Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, and Mike Zimmer.
A number of others who worked alongside or for Parcells also coached in the NFL. They include Tom Coughlin (who also won a pair of Super Bowls as the New York Giants’ head coach), Romeo Crennel, Tony Sparano, and Anthony Lynn.
Parcells was best known for his stint coaching the Giants, where we won Super Bowls 21 and 25, but he also went on to coach the New England Patriots, New York Jets, and Dallas Cowboys before retiring for good after the 2006 season.
Coaching the New York Jets from 1997 to ’99 led to his family tree intersecting with the coaching tree. Parcells’ hiring by the Jets came with the dual role as general manager. His director of pro personnel was Scott Pioli, who married Parcells’ daughter Dallas in June 1999.
Bill Parcells roasted his future son-in-law
Scott Pioli came to the New York Jets in 1997 as a 32-year-old Bill Parcells hire with a little bit of college coaching experience. He had moved into the NFL in 1992 as a pro personnel assistant with the Cleveland Browns and then as the pro personnel coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
Parcells hired Pioli as his director of pro personnel, which entailed knowing the Jets’ roster inside and out but also identifying players from across the league who would be upgrades through free agency. Appearing on Colin Cowherds’ podcast, Pioli recalled a 1998 meeting about free agents that had gone well.
As it was ending, Pioli asked Parcells if he could expand his duties by also evaluating college linemen. Parcells said he’d think about it, then set the trap for Pioli.
“Hey, by the way, I wanted to ask you, we didn’t go over this guy. You know, the right gunner from the Green Bay Packers, that kid,” Parcells said, according to Pioli. “And he’s snapping his fingers and he’s pointing to his head like, ‘What’s his name?’”
Pioli drew a blank, and then Parcells inquired about a New Orleans Saints player. Again, Pioli couldn’t come up with a name. Pioli had stepped into the trap and was about to feel the wrath.
“He turned to walk away and he turns around and he explodes at me, Colin,” Pioli recalled. “’That’s the effing problem with guys like you and you young guys. All of you want to do someone else’s job rather than becoming an expert in your job. If you want to be great in something, master your job. Just do your effing job.’”
Scott Pioli learned his lesson and put it to use
Scott Pioli was upset at being chewed out by Bill Parcells, but the longtime NFL executive concedes that his New York Jets boss was right.
“I had a job,” Pioli told Colin Cowherd. “My job was to know the entire National Football League, Colin, and I didn’t know the entire National Football League. So, I learned the importance of just do your job.”
Parcells left the Jets in 2000, and Pioli moved on at that time to the New England Patriots, where he earned acclaim as Bill Belichick’s right-hand man on player personnel through 2008. He then served as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-12 and assistant GM for the Atlanta Falcons from 2014-19.
Pioli, who turns 56 this month, spent the 2020 season doing radio and television work.