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COMMENTARY : Parcells Trying to Create More Magic With Patriots

October 15, 1994|MIKE LUPICA | NEWSDAY

They cheered Bill Parcells the other night, in the middle of Lawrence Taylor's night. The New York Giants retired Taylor's No. 56 Monday night, and he gave a terrific speech, because at the end he turned it into a conversation with the fans. "This is about me and you," he said. "We've always been in this together."

They went crazy for that part at Giants Stadium. But right before that, and before he left the stage, Taylor thanked Parcells. It was then that an explosion of noise, coming all the way down out of the lights, hit Taylor the way he hit quarterbacks. It made him smile. For that brief moment, he and Parcells were together at Giants Stadium, their two Super Bowl trophies with them, and it was still the best time the place will ever know.

Parcells will be at Giants Stadium on Sunday when the New England Patriots play the Jets, but he is with the visiting team now.

Parcells has been back one time with the Patriots, a Sunday night game last season when the Jets beat his young team, 45-7. He has not had a beating like it since. The Patriots always are in the game. It has taken Parcells only 22 games to get everything going in the right direction. He has the best young quarterback in football in Drew Bledsoe. Parcells and Bledsoe will be in a Super Bowl before either the Giants or Jets will.

Parcells will still look all wrong on the visitors' sideline. He is Giants Stadium the way Charlie Conerly and Y.A. Tittle and Frank Gifford and Sam Huff were Yankee Stadium. Giants Stadium is as much his room as it was Taylor's room, or Phil Simms'. He was a Jersey guy himself and seemed to belong there. Parcells is the best coach the Giants have had, just as Simms is the best quarterback and Taylor the best player. That does not change because he left. It does not change because Giant General Manager George Young did not want him back two years ago.

"You're always going to have memories," Parcells said. "But those memories from the past are separate and distinct from what you feel in the present. The only thing that stays the same is coaching your team. In that case, the feelings are the same. You just try to get them ready to win the game. What I said about Lawrence once goes for me. I just want to know two things: Did we win? And when's the next game?"

He had eight years with the Giants, had an 85-52-1 record, won two Super Bowls. He left a few months after the second one, went to television, had two heart procedures, the second one a bypass operation in June 1992. He took the Patriot job last year and as soon as he did the Patriots were legitimate. They were on the board. Jimmy Johnson will do that somewhere when he coaches again. Joe Gibbs will do it if he coaches again.

"We're still not that good," Parcells said. But he has always said that in October, about all his teams, even the ones that ended up playing on the last Sunday in January.

The best coach the Giants have had now tries to take the Patriots to the Super Bowl. Parcells will do it before he finishes out his five-year contract with them, don't worry about that.

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