Tonight I had the privilege of viewing the latest ESPN 30 For 30 presentation “The Two Bills.”  It was an absolutely fascinating look at the complex relationship between two legendary coaches, Bill Belichick and Bill Parcells.

Coach Belichick served as Coach Parcells defensive coordinator for two Super Bowl championships prior to winning a record five as the head coach himself of the New England Patriots.  Their relationship has been respectful, bitter, tense, but most of all, successful.  Their combined impact on the NFL in terms of player evaluation, organizational philosophy, schematics, and former coaches and front office personnel who went on to lead other teams, has redefined the game for the last quarter century.

Rarely do two leaders of this caliber sit down together for a candid conversation.  This interview is a gift for anyone interested in the subject of leadership and personal relationships.  You could tell the incredible amount of respect these two had for each other.

On the other hand, this conversation would not be any different (other than the content) than you or I may have with someone we worked for approximately 20 years ago.  Some good memories.  Some difficult times.  If you missed the initial showing, make sure you catch a replay or view it On Demand.

The following are 61 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From ESPN Films 30 For 30 – “The Two Bills.”  All quotes are from Coach Belichick and Coach Parcells unless otherwise noted.

  1. “The locker room is a great laboratory for human behavior.” – BP
  2. “It’s more friendly than friends.” – Charlie Weiss on their relationship
  3. “I look back at those years as some of the best years of my life… but that’s not really the point.” – BB
  4. “Bill taught me everything he knew about linebackers.  It was a huge break in my coaching career.” – BB
  5. “He was my go-to guy at a very young age.” – BP
  6. “He named Bill Belichick the defensive coordinator and I thought that was the wrong decision.” – Lawrence Taylor
  7. “It took a couple of years but Bill Belichick really earned our respect.” – Taylor
  8. “I cannot ever remember going into a game where we were not mentally prepared.” – Taylor
  9. “Looking at the negative side and preparing for the negative has made him a better football coach because he prepared for all the things that could go bad.” – Romeo Crennel on Belichick
  10. “The one thing Parcells was the best I’ve ever seen was button-pushing.” – Weiss
  11. “Bill demanded a high standard and that’s what he should have demanded.” – BB
  12. “You give an order.  You accept an order and you do it.” – BB
  13. “There was no question about it.  I work for him and he was the boss.” – BB
  14. “Sensitivity wasn’t in play.” – BP
  15. “If you win a championship they can never take it away from you.” – BP
  16. “There’s nothing like winning a Super Bowl.” – BB
  17. “Bill was quite cerebral and pays close attention to detail all the time.  I admire that in him.  He has the wherewithal to maintain concentration for a long period of time.” – BP
  18. “I was a detail person.  I think that’s one of the things that made us work well together.  Bill saw the big picture in great clarity.” – BB
  19. “I felt like Bill was deserving of anything I could do to help him get ready.” – BP on helping BB get ready to be a head coach
  20. “I really appreciate those times you did that.” – BB to BP on exposing him to larger aspects of being a head coach
  21. “There’s two great minds in football and they shared in the game plan.” – Pepper Johnson on the two Bills game planning the Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills
  22. “The bigger the game the more the two Bills would collaborate on the game plan.” – Taylor
  23. “In the big games I felt we were more at peace in those games.” – BP
  24. “Coach Belichick leaves and then Parcels leaves.” – Johnson
  25. “Parcels always had a way of getting me ready and Belichick said you have to stay ready.” – Taylor
  26. “The first I met Robert (Kraft) was through Bill’s introduction.” – BB
  27. “I liked him and agreed to go over budget and hire him.” – Kraft on BB
  28. “I actually remember Bill Parcells saying to me when describing Bill, ‘You won’t really be his friend or won’t really go out and hang together but we have a good relationship professionally.’  I thought if I could get wins out of it that was a turn on for me.” – Kraft
  29. “Both of us look at situation and saw it exactly the same way.” – BB on joining BP’s staff in New England
  30. “Honestly, as an assistant, it was the best staff I was ever on.” – BB in New England
  31. “Keeping people like ownership out of the football is believed to be, at that time, in the best interest.  You sort of felt shut out.” – Kraft
  32. “They want you to cook the dinner, least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries.” – Parcells.  To which Kraft replied, “I think our groceries are pretty good.  They’re fresh.  I like the groceries.  I’d like to be flooded with groceries like that next year.”
  33. “It just blew my mind, to be honest, how does he go and accept another job somewhere?” – Kraft on BP going to the New York Jets
  34. “The League office was not as pure as I would have thought.” – Kraft
  35. “Losing Parcells was not my choice.” – Kraft
  36. “I wanted someone I could really feel a connection to.” – Kraft
  37. “That whole (Jets) ownership configuration at that point and time was a major factor in my decision much more than a personal relationship (with BP)” – BB on becoming the Jets head coach after BP retires
  38. “Leave it to the Jets to create a circus atmosphere on the way in and the way out.” – Weiss
  39. “There’s some guys who don’t want to follow a legend.  They want to chart their own path.” – Harry Carson
  40. “There was a period of silence for awhile.” – BP on the relationship with BB afterwards
  41. “I don’t know how many coaches hold their players accountable like Belichick and Parcells.” – Tedy Brucshi
  42. “I was disappointed… It took a little while but once I determined Kraft was interested in him as head coach…” – BP
  43. “This is a great day for the New England Patriots.  I’m very excited to introduce to you our new head coach Bill Belichick,” – Kraft in a January 27, 2000 news conference
  44. “It’s the best decision I’ve made since I owned the franchise.” – Kraft on hiring Belichick
  45. “He went back to a situation where the nucleus of the players were guys Parcells had picked.” – Johnson on BB returning to the Patriots
  46. “In fairness to Belichick he had to clean up our roster but he kept ‘the Pacells guys.'”
  47. “Bill had put together a very talented team.” – BB
  48. “That 2001 season to now they call it ‘Patriot Way’ but a lot of what they did is ‘The Parcells Way.'” – Bryan Cox
  49. “The think you’ve got to know is this family is dysfunctional.” – Cox
  50. “When they split they didn’t talk for years.” – Cox
  51. “We could tell there was some degree of tension.” – Al Groh
  52. “This thing at times became larger than life.  Everyone loves reality TV but these are two human beings trying to work through real human emotions and human conflict.” – Scott Pioli
  53. “They were mad at each other but really cared about each other.” – Pioli
  54. “I wished I would have just gone directly to you and just talked… There was more silence than there needed to be.” – BB to BP
  55. “I take my share in the relationship at that point and could have done a better job.” – BB
  56. “I think both of us move on from things…  We had a little disagreement.  It resolved itself.  I’m happy that it has.” – BP
  57. “I’m at 75 years old.  I’m not worried about what happened 10, 11, 12 years ago.  I’m just really am glad we have a good relationship now.” – BP
  58. “I think one of great attributes a head coach can have is hiring good assistant coaches.” – BP
  59. “These two have a mutual love and respect for each other.” – Willie McGinest
  60. “You can’t go through what they’ve gone through together, and tolerate the behaviors of the other, and not love one another.” – Pioli
  61. “One wouldn’t have been what they were without the other.” – Ty Law

To receive even more leadership insights from a member of the Bill Belichick coaching tree, click HERE or on the image to the left for my new ebook The Leadership Of Nick Saban: Timeless Truths From The Incomparable Head Coach Of The Alabama Crimson Tide.  Enjoy!


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