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POWER STRUGGLES IN GIANTLAND - The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

VINNY DiTRANI
The Record (Bergen County, NJ)
01-05-1997
POWER STRUGGLES IN GIANTLAND
By VINNY DiTRANI
Date: 01-05-1997, Sunday
Section: SPORTS
Edition: All Editions -- Sunday
Column: NFC NOTEBOOK

Clearing up a few Giants' issues of years past.

The popular perception has been that general manager George Young
wanted to jettison Bill Parcells following the dismal 1983 season and
replace him with Howard Schnellenberger, then the coach at the
University of Miami.

According to several club sources, however, it was Tim Mara, then a
team co-owner, who wanted Parcells gone. And he started making his
demands before the 1983 season had ended, and Young actually had to
fight to keep Parcells in command.

'Tim went into George's office and was pounding on his desk,' said
one source. 'He wanted Bill out. George fought him off.

'George went to Bill and asked him to come up with a detailed plan
on exactly how he was going to turn things around. And he [Young] got
what he called one of the best organized and thought-out plans he'd ever
seen.'

Ironically, Parcells and Tim Mara, who died in May 1995, went on to
become strong allies and close friends. The same couldn't be said for
Parcells and Young, in part because the GM reportedly offered
Schnellenberger a five-year, $2.25 million deal to take over if Parcells
eventually failed.

When Young was looking for someone to replace Ray Handley following
the 1992 season, he refused to call Parcells, a free agent who had left
the team in May 1991, after a second Super Bowl win. Team president
Wellington Mara did call Parcells, but only to wish him a happy holiday
season.

And speaking about that last coaching search . . .

Dan Reeves actually was Young's fourth choice, not his third after
he was turned down by Boston College coach Tom Coughlin and Dallas
defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt, who opted for the Chicago Bears'
opening. According to a source, Young had Dallas offensive coordinator
Norv Turner penciled in as his No. 3 man, but never followed through on
him.

His reasoning, said the source, was that since head coach Jimmy
Johnson and owner Jerry Jones had teamed to steer Wannstedt away from
the Giants, they would do the same with Turner. And Young didn't want to
waste any more time going that route.

Johnson in particular didn't want Wannstedt -- with whom he was
very close -- coaching against him in the same division. Ironically,
Turner wound up in the NFC East at Washington one year later.

* * *

Controversy swirled all week around one of the teams in today's NFC
playoff game. And the Dallas Cowboys had some troubles of their own,
too.

The Carolina Panthers, considered to be the squeaky clean entry in
today's contest, had a few bumps in their preparation week for the game
against the defending Super Bowl champions. First defensive end Shawn
King, one of the young pass-rushing prospects on the defensive line, was
suspended by head coach Dom Capers for the game because he repeatedly
showed up late for team meetings.

Meanwhile, Blake Brockermeyer, one of the Panthers' three
first-round draft picks in 1995, spoke out on his inability to return to
the starting lineup after suffering a broken left thumb in late
November.

Brockermeyer, considered one of the better young offensive tackles
in the league, has been fitted with several different casts and could
play. But Capers has decided to keep former tight end Matthew Campbell
and rookie Norberto Garrido as his starting tackles.

'It's something I'll just have to live with,' Brockermeyer said,
'but I won't forget this.'

And they think they have things bad in Valley Ranch.

'This is a game where you put together a lot of individuals, and
things happen,' said quarterback Kerry Collins. 'Things happen that are
out of my control and a lot of the guys' control, so what do you do? You
can sit here and dwell on it, but I don't think that would do any good.
We've got to focus on the Cowboys and try to just play our best game and
kind of forget about everything else.'

* * *

There might be a little Richard Jewell replay in this latest
Cowboys incident involving Michael Irvin and Erik Williams. Now that the
Dallas police have 'slowed down' their investigation, and haven't
decided if they even are going to interview the two players allegedly
involved, you have to wonder if:

A. They don't want to hurt the Cowboys' chances against the
Panthers by keeping either or both from playing.

B. The videotape evidence they claimed they had, the one that
'shows' Irvin's voice at the scene, perhaps isn't as solid as first
thought.

C. Questions about the background of the woman who made the
complaint might hurt her credibility.

D. All of the above.

This is not to say Irvin or Williams have been wronged. Certainly
their backgrounds make them prime suspects in this sort of incident.

But this case -- and the one involving the Philadelphia Eagles'
practice squad player who allegedly assaulted a woman in California last
weekend -- certainly shows today's professional athlete has to be on his
best behavior at all times.

Somehow, however, it seems unlikely that message will get through.

Keywords: FOOTBALL. PROFESSIONAL

Copyright 1997 Bergen Record Corp. All rights reserved.