Bill Parcells signed a four-year contract with the Miami Dolphins to become the team's executive vice president of football operations on Thursday.
Parcells faxed the contract to the team, less than a day after turning down an offer to join the Atlanta Falcons.
"He has a proven track record of success everywhere he has been in the National Football League," Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga said Thursday afternoon. "And his football acumen will help put the Miami Dolphins franchise back among the elite of the NFL."
The two-time Super Bowl champion coach will report directly to Huizenga, whose affinity for big-name help now has led him to Parcells -- a 66-year-old former coach of four NFL clubs who owns a home in South Florida and now has a job there, too.
On Wednesday, the expectation around the league was that Parcells would take over in Atlanta. By the afternoon, however, the deal had fallen apart, and the Dolphins moved quickly to get Parcells to sign a contract.
"I'm honored to join such an illustrious franchise as the Miami Dolphins and to work for one of the best owners in the league in Wayne Huizenga," Parcells said. "He shares my same commitment to winning, and I told him I would do everything I can to help turn around the team's fortunes."
Bill Parcells' Coaching Record
Bill Parcells says he won't coach for the Dolphins, but he's been a winner wherever he's been. Parcells is 172-130-1 in his NFL career as a head coach, with an 11-8 record in the playoffs and two Super Bowl wins.
|* = Won Super Bowl|
The team made the announcement shortly after the locker room was closed for the day, and roughly 45 minutes after Dolphins coach Cam Cameron sidestepped at least a half-dozen questions about Parcells -- even refusing to say if he's ever met the coach.
"There will potentially be a time to have that discussion," Cameron said. "Today, I don't see it as being that day or this time."
Parcells will be formally introduced next Thursday, the team said.
His arrival has taken nearly all the attention off the Dolphins' game at New England on Sunday. But even as it appeared certain Parcells was coming, players didn't say much on the hot topic.
"The guy's a legend," running back Lorenzo Booker said. "There's no doubt about it. He knows what he's doing. Obviously, his resume is a mile long. But I'm a new guy in this league, so I don't even know what a vice president does, to be honest with you, so I'm waiting to find out as much as you guys."
Televisions were off in the locker room after practice Thursday; that wasn't the case 24 hours earlier, when Parcells' face was splashed across the screens as news broke he was weighing Huizenga's offer.
Few players wanted to speak about Parcells, and those who did generally offered the company line, that the Dolphins are only thinking about Sunday's game at New England.
"Any more questions about New England?" defensive back Jason Allen asked.
Miami started 0-13 before beating Baltimore last weekend. The roster already seemed certain for an offseason overhaul. The Dolphins likely will have the No. 1 pick in next year's draft, and the franchise is in the midst of its longest postseason drought, now six years and counting.
Parcells insisted that he will not coach in Miami -- but could see himself helping the coach, whomever it is.
"It's a young man's game in terms of coaching, and I know it's time for someone else to be doing those things," Parcells said on ESPN. "If I can assist that person in any manner of speaking with my experience or even in the technical aspect and he would seek out that, then I'm happy to contribute."
So now, let the questions begin.
What happens to Cameron?
What happens to general manger Randy Mueller?
"Well, I'm not going to be doing either one of those jobs," Parcells said. "So when I get down there, I'm going to just have to look at the situation and speak with those fellas and evaluate things and see where we go from there."
Last Friday, Huizenga had been in talks about selling the team for about $1.1 billion. Now it seems that deal has since unraveled and there's no immediate plans to sell even a portion of the franchise.
Parcells will finish his duties as an ESPN analyst this week, appearing on ESPN Radio Primetime Friday at 7 p.m. ET. His final work for the network will be as part of Monday night's Denver-San Diego coverage.
Parcells' return didn't seem to be a surprise in Dallas, where he retired as coach after last season.
Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones, the son of Dallas owner Jerry Jones, said Parcells was always intrigued "not just in the coaching part, but putting the team together, running the organization, trainers to fields to scouting department. It was always a huge interest to him."
Huizenga has been known in the recent past to try to make a big splash by hiring a big name.
In January 2004, he hired Miami's greatest player, Dan Marino, as senior vice president of football operations, a job created just for him. Marino resigned from the loosely defined role 22 days later, saying he didn't want to change his lifestyle.
Later that year, Huizenga hired coach Nick Saban away from LSU; he lasted only two seasons in Miami before bolting after the 2006 campaign to return to college football at Alabama.
Now that Parcells is in, the question next is what can he do to improve the Dolphins? He certainly can't do worse. First, he must make the proper draft choice since the Dolphins have the #1 pick. At 1-13, the Dolphins clearly aren't one player away from the playoffs, so trade options will entice him. Next, he must decide on the future of his position players on offense and defense, especially QB John Beck. Is John Beck really the future quarterback of Miami? Bill Parcells is excellent at identifying the potential of future players. Saban let the defense get too old, which is one of the reasons the team has fallen to 1-13. If there is a way to get first- and third-round draft choices for Jason Taylor and Zach Thomas, Parcells might be willing to give them up. If healthy, Brown would be the ideal back to handle a ball-control offense. Before the injury, Brown had breakaway speed and great hands to catch passes out of the backfield. He was developing into a workhorse. But he's coming off a knee reconstruction, so Parcells has to project what Brown can do.
Basically, I have complete faith that Bill Parcells will assemble a playoff contending team in Miami just as he did with the Dallas Cowboys. He assembled the Cowboys to where they are now with players like Julius Jones, Marion Barber, T.O, and Tony Romo. He will do the same for the Dolphins, just give him a few years. All he has to do is win 4-7 games next year and he'll be considered a genius.