The late George Young, who in 1982 hired a little-known assistant named Bill Parcells to coach the New York Giants, said it best:
``Bill knows what defense he'll call during the second series three games from now. He doesn't know what he's doing in his own life three days from now.''
So, it comes as no surprise that Parcells agreed on Tuesday to become Atlanta's director of football operations, then decided on Wednesday he might be better off with a similar job in Miami.
We think.
If that doesn't work out, he can always wait until next season, then play the ``I will, I won't'' game with some losing team looking desperately for a savior.
This is at least the fifth time in two decades that something like this week's events have happened: twice with the Falcons, twice with the Buccaneers and once during a wacky week in New Orleans in January 1997. Then, the Tuna was preparing the New England Patriots for a Super Bowl while at the same time negotiating with the Jets to become their coach.
En route, he left strained relationships with Young and the Mara family in New York, through two different Tampa Bay owners and two Super Bowl-winning coaches, Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy.
``There was a lot of stuff going on prior to the game. I mean, him talking to other teams,'' Belichick says in a 2004 book about that week before the Patriots' Super Bowl game against Green Bay. ``He was trying to make up his mind about what he was going to do. Which, honestly, I felt was totally inappropriate.''
Here, in chronological order, is a history of Parcells' flirtations:
-After the first of his two Super Bowl wins with the Giants in January 1987, Parcells' agent, Robert Fraley, made contact with Rankin Smith, then the owner of the Falcons. That negotiation was abruptly ended when then-commissioner Pete Rozelle intervened, pointing out that Parcells still had a contract in New York.
But a close Parcells friend confirmed the talks.
And when Parcells turned down the job, Culverhouse said: ``I thought we had a deal. Now I feel as though we've been jilted at the altar.''
-In 1997, the week before the Patriots-Packers Super Bowl was consumed by talk of Parcells' departure.
He and New England owner Robert Kraft even stood together at one news conference professing their love for each other. Then Parcells didn't fly back to Boston on the Patriots plane.
In the book ``Patriot Reign: Bill Belichick, the Coaches, and the Players Who Built a Champion,'' author Michael Holley reported dozens of calls from Parcells' hotel room in New Orleans to Jets headquarters in Hempstead, N.Y.
Parcells did, indeed, go to the Jets the next season after a protracted negotiation between the teams in which a deal was brokered that gave New England four draft picks for its coach.
-In 2001, Parcells talked to members of the Glazer family during a season in which Dungy was coaching the Bucs to the playoffs. After firing Dungy, the Bucs hired Parcells' choice, Bill Muir, as their offensive line coach, a job he still holds under Jon Gruden. They also talked to Mike Tannenbaum, who was Parcells' pick to be the Tampa Bay general manager.
But Tannenbaum stayed on Long Island, where he eventually became GM of the Jets, and Parcells backed out. Dungy, meanwhile, acknowledged he had been hearing Parcells rumors during the season from friends around the league, though the Glazers kept denying it until they fired Dungy after a playoff loss in Philadelphia.
Dungy was hired a week later by Indianapolis.
Not long after, Parcells signed on with Dallas, even though a friend was urging Hall of Fame voters to elect Parcells because the Tuna assured him he wouldn't return to coaching.
Now it's Arthur Blank ``jilted at the altar'' by Parcells, who has decided his future may be in Miami. Given his history, let's not get carried away just yet by that Dolphins marriage.
Maybe Parcells' future is back in Bristol, Conn., with ESPN, and in Saratoga during the late summer, to race his horses.
Until next season, that is, when some floundering team calls and offers to give him the sun. Naturally, Parcells will ask that they throw in the moon.
Then he'll move on to the next offer.

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