CANTON, Ohio – The Dallas Cowboys had two members of this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony, including arguably the best guard in NFL history.
First-ballot inductee Larry Allen, who was one of the quietest players in front of the camera throughout his career, shocked everyone with a 16-minute speech that mixed in some emotions and humor to offset his evident nerves.
Bill Parcells went for nearly 25 minutes, the longest of the seven speeches.
Both Allen and Parcells were well represented by former Cowboys colleagues. A few former Cowboys linemen who played with Allen made an appearance, including Solomon Page, Tyson Walter, Kelvin Garmon and Nate Newton. Other Allen teammates included Russell Maryland, Darren Woodson, La’Roi Glover and Jay Novacek, along with Hall of Fame members Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and Michael Irvin.
Here are some quotes from various former and current members of the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night’s inductees:
Nate Newton on Larry Allen:
Man, Larry was great. He did what he needed to do. He was super. I really loved it. He opened it up with a joke. He closed it out with seriousness. He handled it, man. It was great. I loved it – that 40 ounce was cold-blooded.
I was nervous for him. The bet was, how long he was going to go. I had nine minutes. He did a good job. That was always the Larry that we knew. He was quiet, short on words, but he got his point across. When we had some private moments with just he and I, he talked more. But he wasn’t that boisterous guy but you knew he would do his job. I’m so proud of him. I’ve always said he was the best football player I’ve ever played.
Darren Woodson on Bill Parcells:
I tell everyone that ever listens, in my one year with Bill, I learned more from Bill in that season than I had in all of my career. When he came in, it totally changed the way I looked at the game. I tell him all the time and every time I see him, he showed me how to study film and what to be looking for. In my opinion, he was the best coach I ever played for.
We were wondering if it would be 30 seconds? A minute? 90 seconds? I was getting texts from teammates all day about it. But he was tremendous. I think he captured what made him great. He is such a prideful person. That was the biggest contributing factor to how good a player he was.
I knew he had a lot of people to thank. I think he did a great job. I’m proud of him. I’m very happy for him. He was a funny guy. He was just a great guy. We battled every Wednesday and Thursday during the week. Then on game day it was easy because we practiced each other so hard.
Jason Witten on Bill Parcells
It was a special feeling. Obviously coming into the league under a guy like him, you learn so much. He was a legendary coach before he got to Dallas, but he had a huge impact on a lot of us. I think I’m the player I am today because of the impact he had. It was neat to see him at this moment.
Cowboys VP Stephen Jones on Larry Allen:
What I love is that everybody got to see what Larry Allen was all about. That’s probably more than he said in 12 years with the Cowboys. It was amazing.”
EVE OF THE ENSHRINEMENT: Gil Brandt’s 50 memories for the Pro Football Hall of Fame 50th anniversary
Gil Brandt has watched the Pro Football Hall of Fame grow with the game since it opened in 1963 — and he had an up-close-and-personal view in his capacity as a key member of the Dallas Cowboys’ front office. In honor of the Hall of Fame’s 50th anniversary, Gil offers 50 thoughts and memories about the Hall that he’s accumulated over the decades as a football lifer.
STANDOUT HALL OF FAMERS
1) The Hall of Fame is full of guys with great backgrounds, but one of my favorite personal stories belongs to Rayfield Wright (Class of 2006), who was, of course, a key cog on the Dallas Cowboys when I was with the team. At his enshrinement, he told the story of how he was ready to quit football before his Fort Valley State coach kind of turned him around, getting him to play safety and tight end — and then he ended up getting into the hall as an offensive lineman. Fittingly, he had his college coach introduce him at the Hall.
2) One of the first players I saw who I knew was going to get into the Hall someday was Forrest Gregg, the longtime Green Bay Packers offensive lineman who spent a season with the Cowboys at the end of his career. I saw him at SMU and then as a rookie. He probably played the offensive tackle position as well as anyone, period — as good as Johnny Unitas was at quarterback. Obviously, offensive tackles don’t get the attention quarterbacks get, but I thought Gregg was probably the best.
3) If I had to pick the best class, I’d have to say it was the first class, from 1963, just because of all the people in it: guys like Sammy Baugh, George Halas, Don Hutson, Curly Lambeau, John (Blood) McNally, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe.
4) I also liked the Class of 1994, because it included two Cowboys, Tony Dorsett and Randy White, plus a third guy, Jackie Smith, who ended his career in Dallas. I liked that class a lot.
5) The Class of 2000 had really good players: Howie Long, Ronnie Lott, Joe Montana and Dave Wilcox, plus Dan Rooney. Wilcox was one of those guys who fought for success the hard way after starting out at Boise Junior College.
6) Roger Staubach is one of the Hall of Famers who wowed me the most on the field, though of course he had plenty of chances to do so, given how much time I spent watching him. I also thought Deacon Jones and Ray Nitschke were special.
7) When it comes to the guys we can see on old film, one of the most impressive Hall of Famers is Arnie Weinmeister, who played defensive tackle for the New York and Brooklyn Yankees football teams in the 1940s before joining the New York Giants in the ’50s. He was just the toughest guy.
8) The best quarterback in the Hall is Roger Staubach. First of all, he came back to the game after being in the armed forces for five years, which is something, because historically, guys never came back from breaks like that without losing a step or two. Staubach was the catalyst for the Cowboys; he was a great leader, both on and off the field — even the guys on the other teams respected him greatly.
9) One of the best non-quarterbacks in the Hall has to be Eric Dickerson. He was a dominant guy; he was Adrian Peterson during a time when it was much harder to be Adrian Peterson, because we didn’t have things like motion or do things like split people out.
10) Also, of course, there was Jim Brown. What Jim Brown did was unbelievable, especially when you consider that offensive linemen had to block with their shoulders at the time.
11) Other standouts: Merlin Olsen, a 14-time Pro Bowler who was simply a dominant factor for his team, and Bob Lilly, who was light years ahead of his time. Lilly was bigger, faster and quicker than anybody you’ll ever see.
12) The most impactful coach/contributor in the Hall is George Halas. He helped form the league and run the league, and he dictated policy. Plus, he was a great coach for the Chicago Bears.
13) Ray Nitschke was one of the more influential players in the Hall in terms of being the leader at the luncheon on enshrinement weekend. I think it was his idea to have the luncheon on Friday. Deacon Jones took over that role from Nitschke. It will be interesting to see who takes up the mantle this year, now that Jones is gone.
14) Of course, I like to think that I have about 85 good friends in the Hall (because I think I know just about every guy in there), but one of my best friends is probably Green Bay Packers fullback Jim Taylor. I’ve known him a long time. You know, when you’ve competed against somebody and he’s beaten you twice for the right to go to the Super Bowl, he tends to stick out in your mind.
IRVING, Texas – Now down to just a handful of days before the start of training camp, the questions, projections and predictions of the Cowboys’ 2013 season are starting to surface even more.
This is the time of year for that. Forecasting and finger-pointing go hand and hand. And for the Cowboys, the person that gets most of the criticism, if not the vast majority, is owner/general manager Jerry Jones.
The Cowboys have won just one playoff game since 1996 – that stat gets pointed out in just about every setting possible – and the man behind it all is Jones.
Publicly, he’s the man who fired Tom Landry. He’s the one who couldn’t get along with Jimmy Johnson and he’s the one making all the decisions – especially the wrong ones – that have prevented the Cowboys from climbing that proverbial mountain.
But according to one of the more well recognized coaches that ever worked for him, there is a big misperception to how things operate at Valley Ranch.
Bill Parcells, who is about to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame next month, coached in Dallas four years and said his time with the Cowboys was “enjoyable.” He also spoke of that misperception between Jerry and his head coaches.
“Oh yeah, definitely. I think it’s distorted,” Parcells said. “I think there’s a definite misperception. I just think everyone thinks things are a certain way. I didn’t see it to be that way. I think Jerry is a good businessmen and a good listener. What you have to do is make sense to him. You’ve got to make sense to him. If he thinks you’re making sense, he’ll alter his opinion. I enjoyed him. I like him. I like him a lot.”
Parcells coached the Cowboys from 2003-06, putting them in the playoffs twice with three winning records. Although he decided to stop coaching the team in 2006, Parcells said he remains friends with the Cowboys’ owner to this day.
“I liked my experience there,” Parcells said. “It didn’t turn out perfect from a record-standpoint. I understand all of that. But I learned a lot and I enjoyed working there.
“Jerry and I are pretty good friends. I don’t know whether or not people know that. We talk a little bit. I wouldn’t say frequently. We talk a little bit. We talked recently. It’s good. And I’m close with Stephen [Jones], too. I enjoyed working there with the Joneses. They were supportive and tried to help.”
One of things Jerry gets criticized for the most is the way he apparently dabbles into the Cowboys’ every-day business, although as the general manager, it is certainly within his job description. Jerry is a hands-on owner and GM but according to Parcells, that passion is what drew him to the Cowboys job in the first place.
“We had some mutual friends. I was very close with Al Davis and I know Jerry was, too,” Parcells recalled. “I had a little background information from Al – not about working for the Cowboys, just about what they were trying to do. I knew he had a lot of passion for his work and his job and his organization. I could name a few organizations I don’t feel that about. The owner is just blasé about ‘if we win we win, good; if we don’t, that’s all right.’
“But Jerry isn’t like that. You want to be somewhere where it’s important to the people and certainly it’s a high-profile franchise without question. I just felt like those are the kinds of things I look forward to. I was trying to do something at a place like that. I like them. I think they’re a good group. I think they’re passionate. I think they’re trying to be successful in the business. Hey, that’s all a coach can ask for.”
If there is anyone who might be able to compare coaching situations, it would be Parcells, who led four different teams: the Giants, Patriots, Jets and Cowboys. Parcells also worked in the front office of the Dolphins.
But although the NFL doesn’t make players or coaches distinguish what team they are associated with for the Hall of Fame the way baseball does, Parcells makes it clear.
“I’m going in as a Giant,” Parcells said. “That was a place I spent 10 full years, two as an assistant and eight as a head coach. I certainly didn’t spend more than four years anywhere else. I think, identification-wise, I’m more with the Giants than any other franchise, just because of longevity.”
Parcells also says he was ahead of the time in terms of NFL coaches today. He sees coaches and players bouncing around from team to team much more than they did in the past.
“I was a product of what you see around the league now,” Parcells said. “When I first came into the league, the league wasn’t as transient in nature – players or coaches. Coaches stayed at one place and players stayed in one place. But with free agency and different ownership, the dynamic of the industry has changed a little bit. It’s become more transient in nature. You see a guy like Mike Shanahan … he’s a head coach in three different places. You see more of that than what you used to. It’s just the nature of the business. It’s a little more volatile and a little more transient. Change is a little more on the forefront than it was 30 years ago.”
Parcells showed he was never one to avoid change. He actually embraced it. And while he’s gone through many stops along the way, his time in Dallas gives him fond memories.
Although the Cowboys might have several problems facing them as they head into this season, there are many pundits who believe the GM might be the biggest issue.
There is one soon-to-be-inducted Hall of Fame coach who would disagree.
Courtesy: Nick Eatman | Dallas Cowboys staff writer
IRVING, Texas — If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Nick Eatman’s interview with Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells, you need to find time to do so.
The piece was well written and points out the relationship that Parcells had with Jerry and Stephen Jones during his time as the head coach of the Cowboys. I thought his answers were honest and truthful but more importantly, accurate about his feelings toward the Joneses.
Bill Parcells was not an easy man to work for, but neither was Tom Coughlin, and I respected what they accomplished in their years in the NFL. Parcells was unique because he always had a plan in mind.
If you remember those teams under Dave Campo, we had no plan nor did we have any direction. During his seasons in Dallas, Parcells gave us both. Sure there were times he was stubborn and his ego got in the way, but it was honestly for the betterment of the team.
I have always said that one of Jerry Jones’ greatest traits was his ability to listen, but you can also say that it’s one of his greatest faults. Parcells had Jones’ ear, but in turn, Parcells was the same with Jones.
What Parcells did better than anyone I had ever worked with is that he understood how to play the game. Parcells was a master at getting what he wanted but he also knew that getting what he wanted also came with a price.
In my time with both of these gentlemen, it was always interesting to see that dynamic at work. There was a huge amount of give and take between these two, and both of them went to work each day with that understanding.
If there was a buffer between Parcells and Jerry Jones, it was Stephen Jones. I have always called Stephen the voice of reason, who is a clear thinker and always has the big picture in mind. Parcells showed a great deal of respect for Stephen, and, when he became frustrated with Jerry, would knock on Stephen’s door and voice his views.
Stephen had a way of calming Parcells down and working through the issues with him. Stephen was also able to take Parcells’ ideas to Jerry and explain them in a way that would help him understand where he was coming from. Stephen was outstanding for both parties and the reason why many things were accomplished between Bill and Jerry.
Parcells was absolutely correct in his assessment of Jones as an owner. He is willing to do everything in his power to give the head coach the opportunity to win. In my time with them both, it was rare that Parcells didn’t get the players he wanted.
Huge free agency dollars were spent on guys like Marco Rivera, Anthony Henry, Jason Ferguson — all Parcells players. Money was spent on Ryan Young, who was broken down but Parcells wanted to sign.
Terry Glenn, Ritchie Anderson, Drew Bledsoe and Vinny Testaverde were all players brought in by Parcells. I remember the previous year in 2004, during free agency, when Parcells didn’t want to sign anyone because there was no value there to be signed, although Jones was willing to spend the money. We were coming off a playoff season but Parcells wanted to stand pat, and Jones granted the wishes of his coach.
In looking back during those years Parcells was here, Jerry Jones made the right decision in hiring a big-time coach but more so, he hired a man who brought us creditability.
Jerry Jones helped Bill Parcells and Parcells did the same for Jones. It wasn’t always easy but it was truly necessary at the time. There were so many that believed this partnership would have never worked but to both men’s credit, it did. It’s nice to see that the respect still remains throughout the years.
Courtesy: Bryan Broaddus | Football Analyst/Scout
In his 25 years as Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones has hired seven head coaches. One becomes a Hall of Famer next month.
Bill Parcells spent four years with the Cowboys and still speaks fondly of Jones despite the differences they had, among them the signing of Terrell Owens.
“He’s a straightforward, honest guy,” Parcells said of Jones during a conference call about his induction into Canton. “He really is. That’s all I look for. He was very supportive of me as a coach. Now were there things going on that occasionally I didn’t like? Yeah, there were, but that didn’t inhibit me from going to him, talking things out. He’s really great about that.”
The Cowboys have won three Super Bowls since Jones took over ownership in 1989, but their last championship season was in 1995. The Cowboys were 34-30 with Parcells as their coach from 2003-06 with two first-round playoff losses.
But Parcells’ tenure helped usher in Cowboys Stadium as Arlington voters approved a tax increase in 2004 to pay the city’s $325 million share of the billion-dollar project. The stadium opened in 2009 to rave reviews.
Parcells defends Jones, citing the owner’s passion for winning.
“I have a high regard for him,” Parcells said. “He has a tremendous amount of passion for the franchise, and I think the people are lucky to have him, lucky to have him as an owner, because [owners are] not all the same. I can tell you that. Having a guy like that and what he tries to do on a yearly basis there is great.”
Parcells, 71, was 65 when he resigned as Cowboys coach after a heartbreaking loss to the Seahawks in 2006 when Tony Romo’s botched hold denied Martin Gramatica a chance for a 19-yard, go-ahead field goal with 1:14 remaining. The Cowboys went 13-3 the next season under Wade Phillips but were upset by the Giants in a divisional playoff game.
Parcells, though, doesn’t look back with any regret on leaving when he did. He never returned to the sideline, though he was executive vice president of football operations for the Dolphins from 2008-10.
“I was at a different age,” Parcells said of leaving the Cowboys. “To me, I’m trying to win the championship, and when you lose like we lost that game, and I’m down the road coaching-wise and age-wise and quite frankly energy-wise at that time, I think about all the things that you’ve got to do just to get back to where you were at that moment, and sometimes it’s a little bit overwhelming. I just decided, you know what, that’s enough, and I’m getting off the field, and this time I stayed off the field. I still like football I still watch it and with interest and all those things.”