You’ve at least got to give Sean Payton kudos for thinking outside the box.
He’s at least willing to try every possible way to circumvent the nearly year-long suspension the NFL handed down to him a week ago.
By legitimately considering Bill Parcells – and let’s be honest, the fact that it’s even being talked about gives you an idea that it’s at least a decent possibility – shows the NFL that if the Saints aren’t going to have Payton as coach, an extension of him will be.
And that’s not a good thing.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell hasn’t said exactly how much or how little contact Payton will be allowed to have while on suspension.
But he has said he doesn’t want Payton coaching from home.
Should Parcells take over, you can bank on that happening.
Payton himself has said he speaks with Parcells weekly. You better believe Payton would be getting updates from and giving tips to Parcells, his mentor.
That wouldn’t please the NFL, which more than likely would see the move as a slap in the face.
The league won’t say no to the move, but it certainly wouldn’t like it.
Parcells, as Payton has said, is a father-figure for the Saints’ soon-to-be suspended coach, one who helped guide the apprentice along through the NFL’s investigation.
Either Payton disregarded Parcells’ advice to be honest or the mentor agreed that hiding the truth was the best route.
If it’s the former, Payton comes across as the apprentice who doesn’t listen to or believe in his mentor. What would that say about having Parcells take the spot then?
If it’s the latter, how good of an idea is it that the man who has helped foster Payton’s hubris for years takes over as the NFL puts handcuffs on the apprentice for covering up the alleged pay for performance program?
Meanwhile, there are other reasons putting Parcells in a position of power in New Orleans is a bad idea for the franchise.
Parcells hasn’t coached football since 2006 and he hasn’t coached it well since 1998, when he took the Jets to the AFC championship game, where they lost to Denver.
The game, especially in the past half decade, has changed. It’s a game Parcells likely won’t recognize and one he’d have a hard time adapting to.
As a colleague said earlier, think Mike Ditka with the Saints a decade after winning the Super Bowl in Chicago; that was an unmitigated disaster.
Then there’s this point: Certainly Parcells would come in as the guy to keep the seat warm while Payton is gone. But if you think he’d keep his hands off of what Payton built, think again.
Parcells’ history shows that he likes to be involved, that he enjoys having his hands on decisions.
What would happen the first time he disagreed with Pete Carmichael Jr. on offense or Steve Spagnuolo on defense? What would happen the first time he openly questioned Drew Brees or any of the other leaders?
While Parcells would certainly recognize some of the ways the Saints are setup, the differences would likely outweigh the similarities.
And Parcells’ Hall of Fame prospects also would be delayed.
He wasn’t voted in this year and, if he were to take over for Payton, would have to wait another five years.
At the time of Hall of Fame voting this year, various reports said Parcells was driven by getting in. His dream would be delayed five more years, making him 76 the next time he would be eligible to be voted in.
But those points are all secondary to the most important one, that being that Parcells is an extension of Payton. And while that might be good in some aspects, the overall damage it might do would do more harm than good.
The NFL wants Payton to obey the suspension.
If Parcells is in his seat, there’s no guarantee that will happen.