NFL playoffs: Dallas vs. Seattle

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 6, 2007

Associated Press

SEATTLE — About the only thing Bill Parcells and Mike Holmgren appear to have in common are long coaching careers and Super Bowl wins.

But don’t completely believe what you see.

Parcells is the iconic, 65-year-old Dallas Cowboys coach who has a 19-year NFL head coaching pedigree built upon rugged defenses. His reputation is also rugged, hardened by coaching both New York teams for a combined 11 years. Parcells is irascible, often caustic, to inquisitors — many of whom he believes try to “antagonize” him.

“A legend,” is what Holmgren calls his self-described friend on the eve of their first postseason meeting since the 1997 Super Bowl.

When people in Dallas kept pressing Parcells this week for comments on the Cowboys losing three of their last four games entering tonight’s NFC wild-card playoff game at 8 p.m. against Seattle, he said, “If you want to talk about history, go down to the museum.”

Holmgren, the 58-year-old Seahawks coach, is a California-bred architect of elaborate NFL offenses which have valued finesse and precision for 21 years, the last 15 as a head coach.

He is a paternal figure around Seattle who rings bells for charity downtown during the holiday season. In November, after Holmgren ripped into his players immediately following a listless, mistake-filled loss at San Francisco, he met with his team the next day and apologized to them for being so vile.

No one’s ever documented Parcells doing that. But he says he’s on a streak of kindness.

“I think I’ve been pretty subdued this year,” Parcells said. “You should have seen me about 15 years ago.

“We all from time to time you catch us at the wrong minute, but I haven’t had a profane-laced tirade I can recall this year.”

Like Holmgren, Parcells cites his personal life surrounded by women as his grounding mechanism. Holmgren and his wife, Kathy — a breast cancer survivor whom Holmgren often honors by wearing a pink ribbon on his coaching gear — have four grown daughters and four granddaughters who he says “keep me very, very humble at home.”

Parcells?

“Pretty quiet. To myself,” he said. “I have three wonderful daughters. They’re grown women now. They’re productive citizens in society. Some of them have families of their own and I’m proud of that.”

The only male in Parcells’ home is his girlfriend’s cat, Cody.

Bet Terrell Owens didn’t know his laser-glared coach has a kitty.

“No, I didn’t know about cats,” said Ron Wolf, the former Green Bay Packers’ general manager whom Parcells describes as his best friend.

“He’s a good size cat,” Parcells said. “He’s about 16 or 17 pounds, very athletic. Very, very athletic. He can do stuff you wouldn’t believe.”

When Parcells was asked this week if he looks more look forward to this postseason opportunity because you know time might be running out, he said, “Sure, yeah.

“When you get older like I am, and the games get more precious to you, they really do because you don’t know how long things are going to go. … Actually, Mike and I talked about this this past spring at the combine.

“I kind of got the sense that he feels the same way.”

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