Shocking, but oh-so-sweet. Bill Parcells sent joyful shock waves through Cowboyville minutes ago when the head coach announced he was resigning. In a statement, released through the team, Parcells said:
"I am retiring from coaching football. I want to thank Jerry Jones and Stephen Jones for their tremendous support over the last four years. Also, the players, my coaching staff and others in the support group who have done so much to help. Dallas is a great city and the Cowboys are an integral part of it. I am hopeful that they are able to go forward from here.
"I am in good health and feel lucky to have been able to coach in the NFL for an extended period of time. I leave the game and the NFL with nothing but good feelings and gratitude to all the players, coaches and other people that have assisted me in that regard."
Considering that Parcells was going to work every day and even made hotel reservations for this weekend's Senior Bowl in Alabama, all signs pointed to his return. The surprise, however, shouldn't diminish the positives:
No more condescending press conferences. No more muzzled assistants. No more conservative game plans founded on philosophies that went out of style along with leather helmets.
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Who's next? I've already cast a vote for Norv Turner, but I'm sure owner Jerry Jones has a plan in place to hire a successor pronto. Oklahoma's Bob Stoops? Tennessee Titans coach Jeff Fisher? How 'bout making a run at the Saints' Sean Payton?
For now, finally, we can lay to rest one of the most disappointing, over-hyped eras in franchise history. On Parcells' Cowboys tombstone:
Four years. 34-32 record. Zero playoff wins. One gigantic failure.
Commence the party. --Richie Whitt