|Explaining why I gave a Hall pass to these three individuals||04.06.13 at 12:29 am ET|
One of the great perks of my job is the fact that I get to sit on the Patriots Hall of Fame Committee. A group that includes current and former media members, as well as former players and employees of the team, we’re charged with the job of creating a list of finalists for the public to vote on. The group met on Thursday afternoon at Patriots Place to determine who should be on the ballot this year.
Players and coaches who have been retired for at least four years are eligible for Hall of Fame consideration, which this year, means any ex-Patriots player or head coach who retired from the NFL prior to the 2009 season. With that in mind, there were several names discussed, including former coaches Chuck Fairbanks and Bill Parcells; offensive lineman Leon Gray; defensive lineman Houston Antwine; defensive backs Raymond Clayborn, Fred Marion and Rodney Harrison; running back Ron Burton; and linebackers Willie McGinest and Tedy Bruschi.
The conversations in the room are great for a few reasons, including the fact that it gives me a chance to hear from men who covered players like Gray, Antwine, Clayborn, Marion and Burton on a regular basis and find out just what it was they brought to the field. I’ve been lucky enough to have covered the team since 2001, but there’s always more to be learned about the game and the franchise, particularly about the impact of a previous generation of players.
With that in mind, here were the three names that went on my ballot:
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|Bill Belichick: Bill Parcells ‘deserves recognition’ as Hall of Famer||02.02.13 at 8:50 pm ET|
“Bill Parcells has been thought of as one of the all-time greats for a long time, so it is with great pride that we can officially refer to him as a Hall of Famer. He deserves all the recognition he is getting and for his career to be celebrated in Canton forever.”
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Robert Kraft on Bill Parcells induction: ‘Well deserved’||at 7:06 pm ET|
Patriots owner Robert Kraft has issued a statement on the election of former New England coach Bill Parcells to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“Congratulations to Coach Parcells on his election into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is well deserved. As a Patriots fan, I will always appreciate the credibility he brought to our franchise as a two-time Super Bowl champion. We had never had a head coach with those credentials. I am very happy for Bill and look forward to his enshrinement ceremonies.”
Former Patriots coach Bill Parcells, who coached New England for four seasons in the mid-1990s and helped change the culture around Foxboro, reached the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, as he was one of seven who received enough votes for enshrinement in Canton.
“This is tremendous,” Parcells told the NFL Network shortly after the announcement was made. “It’s just unbelievable. It’s just exhilarating. It’s just a great thrill to join such an elite group.”
Parcells, left tackle Jonathan Ogden, wide receiver Cris Carter, offensive lineman Larry Allen, defensive tackle Warren Sapp, defensive tackle Curley Culp and linebacker Dave Robinson will be part of the group that is inducted into the Hall this summer, it was announced.
Parcells served as the head coach of the Patriots from 1993 until 1996, and along with quarterback Drew Bledsoe, helped turn the franchise from a 2-14 team to AFC champions in four seasons. Parcells, who had a coaching mark of 32-32 with New England, left town on less than great terms, as he feuded with owner Robert Kraft on the way out the door. But his impact on the team is undeniable. The coach and the quarterback combined to help make the franchise relevant on the NFL landscape and jumpstart an (almost) unabated run of success that continues to this day.
Parcells also served as the head coach of the Giants (1981-1990), Jets (1997-1999) and Cowboys (2003-2006), and also worked as an executive with the Jets and Dolphins. The 71-year-old, the only head coach in NFL history to take 4 different franchises to the postseason, won a pair of Super Bowls with the Giants, and ended up with a career coaching mark of 172-130-1.
For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.
|Bill Parcells: This Patriots team is better than 2011 edition||11.12.12 at 11:41 pm ET|
Bill Parcells has faith.
The former Patriots coach said Monday that despite any struggles New England has faced over the course of the first nine games of the season — particularly on the defensive side of the ball — he believes this year’s Patriots’ team is better than the one that came up just short against the Giants in Super Bowl XLVI in all three phases of the game.
And he’s told Bill Belichick that on several occasions.
“I do communicate with Bill sometimes during the year — usually via text, occasionally, it’ll be a phone call,” Parcells said Monday afternoon. “I told him that I thought his team was a better team this year than it was last year, and I really believe that. I really think that. I know they went to the Super Bowl last year, but I believe they’re better now than they were in 2011. Football is a very unusual game — a bounce here or there can affect them, and I think that’s ultimately what happened to them last year.
“But this year, they are certainly one of the top contenders in the AFC — they’re a team that I don’t think a lot of teams would look forward to playing late in the season and into the playoffs. You see things differently from a coaching perspective, and I think people need to realize that.”
Parcells is confident about the state of the offense. However, on the other side of the ball, the Patriots have been pilloried for their pass defense over the course of the first nine games — New England has given up an average of 285.3 passing yards per game (fourth-most in the league), 47 pass plays of 20 yards or more (most in the league) and 19 touchdown passes (tied for third-most in the league).
While Parcells said you could take the pass defense to task, you also have to consider the state of the pass rush, which has struggled at times to get consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Parcells believes that while Belichick and the Patriots have taken strides in the right direction with a handful of additions in free agency and the draft (including first-round selection Chandler Jones this past spring), they could still use another pass rusher.
“I think you can talk about the pass defense, but at the same time, you need to also talk about the pass rush,” Parcells said. “I know Bill addressed that this past season with the addition of a few guys like Chandler Jones, but I think they could use another guy coming off that edge. They could use another pressure player off the corner.”
In the end, Parcells has faith that Belichick and the Patriots will be able to “figure it out” between now and the end of the season.
“Bill knows what the problems are, and he’s better than just about anyone when it comes to identifying the problems and going about trying to fix it and adjust it,” Parcells said. “With the wide-open offenses, the problems with pass defense are everywhere. It’s just a matter of making the adjustments and seeing who can play best late in the season, and I’m confident that Bill will have them headed in the right direction.”
|Troy Brown, Bill Parcells and Fred Marion finalists for Patriots Hall of Fame||04.25.12 at 12:59 pm ET|
The Patriots revealed two new names among this year’s nominations for hall of fame consideration, as first-year eligible candidate Troy Brown and first-year nominee Fred Marion joined second-time finalist Bill Parcells as this year’s class of finalists, which were revealed Wednesday.
Fans can now vote at www.patriots.com until May 31. The final selection will be decided by the fans, and announced in early June. This year’s Patriots Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Saturday, Sept. 15, the day before the Patriots’ regular season home opener against Arizona.
|Why I delivered a Hall Pass to these three Patriots||04.10.12 at 4:55 pm ET|
FOXBORO — One of the best parts about my job is the fact that on an annual basis, I get to vote as part of a process to determine the list of finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame class. Players and coaches who have been retired for at least four years are eligible for Hall of Fame consideration, which this year, means any ex-Patriots player or head coach who retired from the NFL prior to the 2008 season.
This year, the annual meeting — which includes both current and former members of the media, as well as several other members of the franchise and employees of the Hall itself — took place at Tavolino at Patriot Place. This year, the focus seemed to be more on coaches, including one coach who was a finalist on last year’s ballot, Bill Parcells. Other names who were included in the back-and-forth who could ultimately make it onto the final ballot include coaches Chuck Fairbanks and Mike Holovak; wide receiver/return men Irving Fryar and Troy Brown; offensive lineman Leon Gray; defensive lineman Houston Antwine (a three-time finalist); and special teamer Mosi Tatupu.
In addition, other impressive names were on the list of potential finalists: running back Curtis Martin, defensive lineman Julius Adams, defensive backs Raymond Clayborn and Fred Marion, linebackers Ted Johnson and Roman Phifer and tight end Russ Francis.
As was the case in previous years, the discussion was interesting for several reasons, not the least of which included the fact that I had a chance to hear from several veteran media members about the contributions of players I never saw. I have covered the team on a daily basis for more than a decade and written two books on the history of the franchise, but there’s always more that can be learned, especially when it comes to those who were part of the team in the 1960s.
Then, there’s also the debate about how players would fare when matched up against those of a different era — for example, would someone like Gray, who dominated his position in the 1970s, be able to play at the same level in the 21st century?
Included on my ballot of three finalists were the following:
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