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 Aug. 3 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 they are 140-141, including a 2-7 postseason record, since their last championship season of 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.”