If there ever was a perfect marriage in the NFL, it was the one that existed in New York between the Big Tuna and the Big Apple. In a city that loves big personalities and lots of winning, Bill Parcells delivered in spades during his decade-plus run coaching the Giants and Jets.
The larger-than-life coach took over as the Giants’ head coach in 1983. In just three years time, Parcells led the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory, a 39-20 triumph over John Elway’s Denver Broncos. Parcells and the Giants returned to the summit four years later in dramatic fashion; New York edged the Bills in the only Super Bowl decided by a single point.
Parcells didn’t win a ring with the Jets, but he did guide the franchise to an AFC Championship Game while looking over one of the greatest one-year turnarounds in NFL history.
Parcells’ career also included notable coaching stops in New England and Dallas. In 1996, the Patriots reached the Super Bowl for only the second time in franchise history. Parcells finished his coaching career after leading the Cowboys to the playoffs with then-first-year starting quarterback Tony Romo under center.
In light of his 82nd birthday, here are five fast facts about Parcells:
The origin of the ‘Big Tuna’
Parcells said that the nickname was given to him by Patriots players in 1980 during his one season as the team’s linebackers coach.
“They were trying to get me to sign up for a free turkey that doesn’t exist,” Parcells said during a 2013 interview on “The Dan Patrick Show.” “[I said] what do you think I am, Charlie the Tuna? And that goes back to that StarKist commercial where Charlie was kind of a sucker. … I was a rookie coach [in 1980]. I knew there was something fishy because too many guys asked me.”
Broncos season-ticket holder
After a brief tenure with the Detroit Lions (he was released by the team during his rookie training camp), Parcells…