New Lions coaches share roots with legendary NFL coach Bill Parcells
His tenure with the Dallas Cowboys was ultimately a miss, but as time has passed there is one area where Bill Parcells’ record with the Dallas Cowboys trumps that of Jimmy Johnson.
When the Detroit Lions hired Dan Campbell to be their latest head coach, it expanded what has become a giant Bill Parcells’ Dallas Cowboys coaching tree.
Bill’s Cowboys tree looks like an old magnolia, overshadowing Jimmy’s Cowboys shrub.
Jimmy built Super Bowl winners with the Cowboys, whereas Bill built a decent team and spawned a legion of NFL employees.
(For the record, I know I’m side-stepping Parcells’ proteges New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick — 280 wins and six Super Bowl titles — and former New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin — 170 wins and two Super Bowl titles — since neither man worked for Parcells while he was with the Cowboys.)
Of these two trees, one produced a single Super Bowl winner as a head coach. As you might have guessed, it was not with the Cowboys.
Jimmy Johnson, 1989-93
►Norv Turner, assistant: The most successful of the Jimmy’s former Cowboys assistants, Norv coached three NFL teams for a combined 15 seasons. He had six winning records, and four playoff wins. He spent the 2019 season with the Carolina Panthers. Career NFL coaching record: 114-122-1
►Dave Wannstedt, assistant: Head coach of the Chicago Bears and Miami Dolphins for a combined 11 seasons, flaming out in both spots. He also coached the University of Pittsburgh for six years, and is an analyst for Fox Sports 1. Career NFL coaching record: 82-87; career college coaching record: 42-31
►David Shula, assistant: At 33, he became one of the youngest coaches in NFL history with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1992, and the fastest coach to reach 50 losses in NFL history. He was out of the profession for nearly 20 years and worked for his father’s steakhouse chain. He’s now an assistant at Dartmouth. Career NFL coaching record: 19-52
►Jack Del Rio, player: He served as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-11, and the Oakland Raiders from 2015-17. He’s the defensive coordinator in Washington. Career NFL coaching record: 93-94
►Dave Campo, assistant: Named head coach of the Cowboys in 2000, posting three straight 5-11 seasons. He was fired and replaced by Bill Parcells. Campo was a lifer assistant, who last served as an adviser to USC in 2019. Career NFL coaching record: 15-33
►Butch Davis, assistant: spent six years at the University of Miami, and after another four years at North Carolina he was essentially fired for the NCAA’s investigation into the football program. He has been head coach at Florida International since 2017. Career college coaching record: 102-64
►Randy Shannon, player: The linebacker followed Jimmy from Miami to the Cowboys as a player, and eventually joined coaching. He was the head coach of the University of Miami from 2006-10. He served as Florida’s interim coach in 2017, and is the defensive coordinator at Central Florida. Career college coaching record: 29-25
►Jason Garrett, player: He was added to the team as a player in 1992, and won more games as a head coach of the Cowboys than Jimmy himself. JG is the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants. Career NFL coaching record: 85-67
►Ken Norton, player: The linebacker is the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks.
Bill Parcells, 2003-06
►Sean Payton, assistant: He was Bill’s offensive coordinator and hired by the New Orleans Saints in 2006. You know the rest. He is the one person on this entire list to win a Super Bowl as a head coach. Career NFL coaching record: 143-81; one Super Bowl title
►Mike Zimmer, assistant: Zimmer was a 4-3 guy, whereas Bill liked the 3-4. Despite their differences, Bill liked Zimmer and kept him on staff when he took over in 2003. Zimmer has been the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings since 2014. Career NFL coaching record: 64-47
►Tony Sparano, assistant: The head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11, when he was fired after Week 14. He was the head coach of the Oakland Raiders in 2014, finishing with a 3-9 record. He was the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line coach in July 2018 when he died of heart disease. Career NFL coaching record: 32-41
►Mike MacIntyre, assistant: Became the head coach at San Jose State in 2010, and in 2012 led the Spartans to a 10-2 record and a final ranking of No. 21 in the AP Poll. He became the head coach at Colorado in 2013, lasting until 2018. He is the defensive coordinator at Memphis. Career college coaching record: 46-65
►Jeff Ireland, scouting director: Bill’s right-hand man with the Cowboys, Ireland was the Miami Dolphins’ GM from 2008-13. He has been with the New Orleans Saints since 2017, and serves as an assistant GM.
►Brian Gaine, scouting: Houston Texans’ GM in 2018 and 2019. Works for the Buffalo Bills as a senior personnel adviser.
►Anthony Lynn, assistant: Head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017-20. He is the Lions’ new offensive coordinator. Career NFL coaching record: 33-32
►Todd Bowles, assistant: Head coach of the New York Jets from 2015-18. Preparing for the Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Career NFL coaching record: 26-41
►Freddie Kitchens, assistant: Head coach of the Cleveland Browns for one miserable year in 2019. Now the tight ends coach for the New York Giants. Career NFL coaching record: 6-10
►Todd Haley, assistant: Haley was the Kansas City Chiefs head coach from 2009-11, when he was fired after Week 14. Now an offensive coordinator for a high school team in Sarasota, Florida. Career NFL coaching record: 19-26
►Paul Pasqualoni, assistant: He joined Bill’s staff after a long tenure as the head coach at Syracuse. He was named the head coach at Connecticut in 2011, and lasted three years. Now a special assistant at the University of Florida. Career college (post-Cowboys) coaching record: 10-18
►Dan Campbell, player: He was named the Miami Dolphins’ interim head coach in 2015, and went 5-7. The latest in a long line of well-meaning men to try to win in Detroit.
►Aaron Glenn, player: Hired by Campbell to be the Lions’ defensive coordinator. If the Lions have any success, he will be an NFL head coach.