"Parcells: A Football Life"

Over the course of six years -- up until fall 2014 -- Bill Parcells gave me approximately ninety interviews, with close to a third coming in person. For most of those face-to-faces, we met in Saratoga Springs, New York while other sessions occurred throughout multiple cities in Florida and New Jersey. Although dozens of our Q&As came between 2008 and 2010 when Bill was a Miami Dolphins executive, the bulk occurred during his retirement from the National Football League. I strove to get inside Bill’s head so that Parcells would evince the intimate, personal voice of a memoir despite being written in the third person.

I also spoke to roughly 200 people about Bill, and officially interviewed more than 100, ranging from Bill's former secretaries to NFL owners. Bill’s ex-wife, Judy; their daughters Dallas, Jill, Suzy; and his girlfriend, Kelly Mandart, trusted me with sensitive information, providing insight into the man behind the icon. For the sake of nuance and balance in the collaborative biography, I interviewed some of Bill's detractors. But Parcells's secondary goal was to chronicle the story of football over five decades, with mini-portraits of key characters, from Woody Hayes to Bill Walsh to Curtis Martin and more.

George Swede gave me a tour of Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey where he grew up with Bill. Army Capt. Robert McGovern, a former NFL linebacker, took me around his hometown of Oradell, New Jersey, where Bill lived during his high school years. Doug, Bill’s youngest brother, hosted me in the Oradell home where the Big Tuna had lived as a teenager. Kathleen Smith, the owner of the Saratoga Arms hotel, gave me a tour of Saratoga Springs, helping show why Bill settled down there.

At least four interviewees died before the book’s release: Dr. V. Paul Addonizio, former NFL coach Ron Erhardt, ex-Giants wideout Stacy Robinson and filmmaker Steve Sabol. Paul, a prolific heart surgeon based in Philadelphia, explained Bill’s bypass in layman’s terms, and gave me an open invitation to watch him perform surgery. Ron, who had hired Bill for his first NFL job, invited me to sit down and talk at his home in Boca Raton, Florida. Stacy epitomized the phenomenon of former players like himself who were neither Parcells Guys nor fans of his methods, yet still praised Bill's coaching gifts. Steve provided me with unfettered access to the treasure trove of video at NFL Films in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.

A few quotes that appear in Parcells were taking from media transcripts during the project. But since I didn't speak to those sources, I kept them off my official interviewees list. Not all of the people I spoke to were quoted in the book, and some interviewees requested that their identities remain undisclosed. Nonetheless, I avoided any blind quotes, aiming to make Parcells as well-sourced -- and authoritative -- as possible. At most, I used background information from anonymous sources to help provide context. Most of the links embedded in each name lead to the person's Wikipedia page. For those who died before the book's release, I've linked an obituary. The names of interviewees without a Wikipedia page are embedded with reliable biographical information from the Web -- if available. In my list of interviewees, the names of those who died before Parcells's release are also placed in bold.

 I interviewed approximately 40 people face to face: Early during the project, in July of 2009, Romeo Crennel and I met for lunch at  a Manhattan restaurant in Greenwich Village. Romeo provided tremendous insight into Bill, including his ex-boss's strange habit of putting a pebble in his right shoe before practices to maintain his crabbiness.

I interviewed approximately 40 people face to face: Early during the project, in July of 2009, Romeo Crennel and I met for lunch at  a Manhattan restaurant in Greenwich Village. Romeo provided tremendous insight into Bill, including his ex-boss's strange habit of putting a pebble in his right shoe before practices to maintain his crabbiness.