Jones, Parcells rebuild Cowboys



In one year they turned a 5-11 team into one that went 10-6 and earned a playoff spot.
OXNARD, Calif. (AP) -- Jerry Jones and Bill Parcells seemed an unlikely pair to work together.
Jones was the meddling owner and general manager of the Dallas Cowboys, a team that had fallen on tough times since winning three Super Bowls in the mid-1990s.
A demanding, do-it-my-way coach, Parcells was retired after taking two different teams to the Super Bowl: winning with the New York Giants (1987, 1991) and losing with the New England Patriots in 1997.
But a mutual desire to win again helped forge a relationship between the men in their 60s, despite their strong personalities.
"I can tell you that this past year, having the opportunity to work alongside Bill Parcells, has been one of the most memorable, enjoyable and productive years of my 16 years in the NFL," Jones said. "Our working relationship has exceeded anything that I could ever have imagined."
Turned team around
Winning certainly helped. The Cowboys, 5-11 in each of the three previous years, went 10-6 and got back to the playoffs with Parcells as head coach last season.
"It's better than I could have ever hoped for," said Parcells, who never had a better first-season record with a team.
Jones and Parcells have found a successful formula without either having to drastically change his ways.
Players such as Keyshawn Johnson, Vinny Testaverde and Richie Anderson, who reunited with Parcells in Dallas, say they've seen "the same old Bill" -- a demanding coach with a no-nonsense approach.
"Perception is reality in this case because he's kind of a straight shooter. I don't think he holds any punches on anything," Anderson said. "It's kind of like what you see is what you get."
Jones remains a very visible figure, not pushed into the background by Parcells, though he kept his distance on the sideline and spent less time there during games than in past seasons.
Jones still involved
The owner still watches most training camp practices from the sideline, often chatting with Parcells. Jones also sits in on film sessions and meetings with coaches.
"I know there was some question mark at this time last year of our ability to work together, make decisions and build," Jones said. "I said then I thought that we had the same thing in mind, and that's winning and trying to improve every day. That has been the case."
Jones made Parcells the highest-paid Cowboys coach, giving him a $17 million, four-year contract in hopes of returning to prominence a team that has five Super Bowl titles, but none since 1996.
While his business holdings include about 75 companies, Jones devotes most of his time to the Cowboys.
"I kid him about having too many fish in the pan, too many things going on," Parcells said. "But I know where his heart is. ... His heart is still in the football."
And so is Parcells' -- for now.
"You know me. I get going, I get going, and all of a sudden I'm just dead in the water," said Parcells, who at 62 is a year older than Jones. "So, that happens to me. I know that now. But I'm enjoying these guys. I really am. It's fun. I like them and enjoy coaching them."
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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