With the most recent NFL Hall of Fame inductees taking their place in football history and are forever immortalized with bronze busts, one particular inductee got me thinking—the legendary head coach Bill Parcells. Parcells had a storied career as a head coach, winning two Super Bowls while having numerous winning seasons and playoff appearances.
Parcells’ coaching tree contains numerous current and former NFL head coaches. Among these are three Super Bowl winners who have won seven out of the last 10 Super Bowls. Don’t forget that in two of those Super Bowls both of the head coaches were former assistant coaches under Parcells, Tom Coughlin and Bill Belichick. It’s safe to say that Parcells has definitely left his mark on the game.
How will they be looked upon once they have left the game and their eligibility to enter Canton is open?
I think it’s fairly safe to say that Belichick will get into the Hall of Fame when it’s his time. Were he to retire today, Belichick would have three Super Bowl wins with five appearances. He can also boast numerous winning seasons and a football organizational model and corporate culture that most teams would probably give anything to have–the so called ‘Patriot Way.’
Coughlin will probably squeak in at some point as well. I’m not saying he will get into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, but at some point and time I think it’s a given.
What about Sean Payton though?
Payton helped to resurrect a football organization and a city. Since becoming the New Orleans Saints head coach Payton has produced some of the most productive offensive units in NFL history. It was his coaching that helped Drew Brees throw for more than 5,000 yards in a season three different times and help him break the single season passing record in 2011.
Payton is obviously talented, smart and a capable coach and leader. I don’t think anybody would dispute that. But, as it stands right now, I don’t believe he would get in so easily. Not that I wouldn’t like to see Payton get in at some point in the future, I just don’t think his body of work to date is enough.
It goes without saying that Payton has been successful since joining the Saints and leading them to their first Super Bowl win. What will help to seal his fate in Canton will be how he and the Saints conduct themselves following last year’s disastrous, post-Bounty Scandal season. If Payton returns the Saints to their previous winning ways and seriously contend for championships, then I think his fate in Canton is secure.