It was a long time coming, but Bill Parcells was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, and gave his induction speech in front of the Canton, Ohio, crowd.
Parcells started his speech with an impassioned thank you to George Martin, who introduced him to the Hall. Parcells said that he "wouldn't be here tonight," if not for Martin.
From there, it was a quick joke, thanking the Hall of Fame and saying that nobody "could appreciate this more than I do," but that he would like to request they place his Hall of Fame bust "somewhere near Lawrence Taylor so I can keep an eye on that sucker."
Parcells was modest about his success in the NFL, saying that a lot of coaches enter situations where they aren't allowed to succeed. He says that there are always bad situations, but that he was never in that kind of situation where he couldn't succeed. "Every operation I went to supported me to the fullest," he said. "That's what allows you and your players to go forward and succeed."
"I was lucky to have that," he said.
At one point, Parcells talked about his family, and then gave the rare shout-out to his ex-wife, saying that she understood, at the time, that he wasn't just married to her, but that he was married to football.
He thanked his ex-coaches and everybody who helped him early on in his life and career. One quote in particular he said that stuck with him, as a head coach and a general leader, was, "The players deserve a chance to win, and you as an organization, a university and a head coach have an obligatory responsibility to give it to them."
Parcells finished his speech by talking about his first days of being a head coach with the New York Giants. He said there was a little room off one section of the locker room, with a plaque that read, "Losers assemble in little groups, and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups. Winners assemble as a team."
In closing, Parcells said that assembling as a team is what he's doing now, and finished with, "I'm honored, I'm grateful, and I'm thankful to every single one of you out there that had something to do with this."
Parcells spent 19 seasons as a head coach in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls with the New York Giants while leading the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl appearance. He compiled a career regular season record of 172-130-1, while winning NFL Coach of the Year honors twice. He gained a reputation for the ability to turn any team into a contender. He took over a 1-15 New York Jets team in 1996 and led them to a 21-11 record over the next two seasons.
Despite taking over teams near the bottom of the league, Parcells coached teams to a losing record in just five of his 19 seasons. In addition to coaching the Giants, Patriots and Jets, he ended his coaching career with a four-year stint with the Dallas Cowboys.