Cover image for The final season : my last year as a head coach in the NFL
The final season : my last year as a head coach in the NFL
Parcells, Bill, 1941-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : W. Morrow, 2000.
Physical Description:
xii, 235 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV939.P35 P37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
GV939.P35 P37 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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As unflinching, candid, and tough as the man himself, The Final Season is Bill Parcell's swan song as head coach in the NFL. During 1999, a grueling, difficult season, Parcell's found his resolve and coaching ability tested at every turn.

It wasn't supposed to be like that, though.

The two-time champion coach who had guided two different teams to the Super Bowl was expected by fans and pundits to drive the New York jets all the way. After all, they had reached the AFC Championship the year before. But fate would not allow it. In the preseason, respected and longtime owner Leon Hess died, casting a season-long pall of uncertainty over the organization. During training camp, two players were arrested after a bar fight. In the final game of the preseason, Wayne Chrebet one of their top receivers, was injured. Then a huge blow-in the season opener Vinny Testaverde, the Pro Bowl quarterback, ruptured his Achilles tendon and was out for the year. Things grew progressively worse-at one point Parcells had lost nine starters. He also endured personal suffering when his dear friend and agent Robert Fraley died in the same plane crash that killed Payne Stewart.

Parcells struggled to keep his team on track, trying to maintain their confidence in the face of enormous odds. "When you're losing, you coach better. You're on top of every detail. You scrutinize yourself, your coaches, your players, and the system you're using." He became his own fiercest critic: "No matter how long you have coached, no matter how many games you have won, no matter how many playoff games, conference championships, Super Bowls you've won, it's all irrelevant. You are not winning now and that's what counts. You think you suck. You are a loser as a coach."

Things hit rock bottom when the team went 1-6. But
Parcells the coaches, and the players would not lie down. "If you don't play to win, then you shouldn't play at all." Parcells called up every strategic and motivational ploy he could dream up, and through sheer force of will and a great amount of pride, the jets won seven of their last nine games.

In The Final Season, readers will not only get an unsparing look inside one of football's greatest minds and a champion's philosophy but also Parcells frank take on good owners; his battles with "owner-operators"; the greatest "warriors" he's coached for and against; the players who are "dogs"; the game's most challenging coaches; and his seasons with the Giants and the Patriots. Parcells also provides the reasons for retiring from coaching as well as his perspective on Bill Belichick's controversial resignation and eventual departure for New England.

A rare, behind-the-scenes football memoir, The Final Season brims with insights and revelations, a testament to a great competitor and future Hall of Famer.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Parcells won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants, led the moribund New England Patriots to the Super Bowl in 1996, and as the 1999 season began, was a favorite to do it again with the New York Jets. This book was to have been a diary of that triumphant march to glory. Ooops. The season didn't work out as planned. Team owner Leon Hess died, leaving Parcells bereft of his strongest ally in the organization. Then the Hess family decided to sell the team, creating controversy and speculation. Then came the injuries: quarterback, star wide receiver, offensive linemen, linebackers. Fans who've followed Parcells through the years are familiar with his brutal honesty. If his team plays badly, he says, "We stink." This diary-memoir is written with the same candor. The chronological approach follows the season from start to finish, and fans will enjoy Parcells' on-the-fly assessments of his own team and the Jets' weekly opponents. It's easy to see in these pages why Parcells was a great coach (he retired at the end of the disappointing 1999 season): he empathizes with players' career and physical concerns, and he never expects more from a player than that player can deliver; he emphasizes players' skills while camouflaging weaknesses; and he's never satisfied with anything less than victory. Despite a healthy, much-criticized ego, Parcells doesn't offer specious advice on how football skills apply to life; nor does he pretend to know the best way to run a non-football business, as so many other coaches have attempted to do recently (Shanahan, Pitino, and Riley, to name three). Parcells is a football coach, and he tells a terrific coach's story. ^-Wes Lukowsky YA: Jets fans of all ages will wolf this one down. BO.

Publisher's Weekly Review

The 1999-2000 football season did not turn out the way that Parcells, the former head coach of the New York Jets, had envisioned. Instead of contending for a championship, the Jets' year was ruined when their starting quarterback, Vinny Testaverde, suffered a season-ending injury in the first game. Without Testaverde, as well as a number of other key players, the Jets stumbled badly at the beginning of the season before rallying to finish the year with a respectable 8-8 record. An important part of the Jets' resurgence was Ray Lucas, selected by Parcells to play quarterback after Testaverde's initial replacement, Rick Mirer, failed to spark the team. In one of the more revealing aspects of his week-by-week account of the season, the usually decisive Parcells is seen wavering between Mirer, talented but struggling, and Lucas, a natural leader but unproven. Not until Lucas took the quarterback reins did the Jets' season take off. With the help of veteran Boston Globe columnist McDonough, Parcells touches on all the action surrounding the Jets on and off the field in his last season, including the search for a new owner (following the death of longtime owner Leon Hess), the trade of Keyshawn Johnson and the bizarre resignation of Bill Belichick, Parcells's designated heir as Jet coach who ended up as coach of the New England Patriots. Written in Parcells's straightforward style, this memoir doesn't aim to settle old scores, although Parcells does issue a few barbs, with the sharpest directed at Johnson's agent, Jerome Stanley. While Parcells's fans may be disappointed that the famously opinionated coach is not more outspoken, there are enough new nuggets to make this a must read for Jet and Parcells followers alike. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Parcells (Finding a Way To Win, LJ 1/96), a highly successful football coach with the Giants, Patriots, and Jets over the last two decades, is known for being blunt, supremely confident, and more than willing to speak his mind. Largely owing to injuries to key players, Parcells's last year before retiring did not turn out the way anyone expected: instead of being in the chase for the Super Bowl, the Jets lost six of their first seven games. This book tells a different and more interesting type of story than most coaches' books. It's not about how "I led them to the championship" but how the coach maintained control in an adverse situation, did not allow his players to quit, and got them to adjust to frustrating circumstances if only for pride. The Jets won seven out of their last nine games with a third-string quarterback and finished with eight wins and eight losses. Demonstrating that hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is not the only way to be successful, this book has a strong message. It also is a lot more fun to read than it probably was for the author to live through. Highly recommended for all football collections [Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]DJohn Maxymuk, Robeson Lib., Rutgers Univ., Camden, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.