football coach, not a corporate executive. He can't call in sick the rest of the week. He's got a team, and that team has one of the season's most important football games to play Monday night, in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
The Cowboys are 5-3. They beat the Eagles the first time around. Embarrassed them, really, 33-10, and Bill Parcells knows the Eagles will be rallying the troops in light of the T. O. brouhaha.
That means he's got guys counting on him, not only his coaching staff, but his players. At best, he might be able to get away Sunday when the team flies to Philadelphia. And for sure part of the day on Monday when Don Parcells' funeral will be held, since the Cowboys-Eagles don't get underway until 9 p.m. (EST).
To Bill Parcells, he knows the show must go on. He also knows his players have enough to think about. He did not burden them with his personal life.
"I heard," said 12-year veteran Aaron Glenn, who is on his second tour of duty with Bill.
Did he say something?
"He would never tell us," Glenn said.
Evidently not. When his quarterback was asked if he had heard, Drew Bledsoe, who is spending his fifth NFL season with Bill Parcells, said, "Nooo, when? I didn't know."
And when Keyshawn Johnson finally concluded uttering his umpteenth "Not my problem" response to questions about the Eagles suspending Terrell Owens, he kind a nodded knowingly when asked if he knew, saying, "Yeah, you just kind of knew, but he didn't say anything."
No, that would have been un-Bill-like.
But to you guys, to those who see him shoving away Todd Haley on the sideline during a game, chewing out some young punt returner for letting the ball hit the ground, staring down an offensive lineman for allowing a sack or barking at an official, there is this more gentle side to Bill Parcells he chooses to hide from the cameras.
He once told this story on himself, but I guess his family in general: "I had an Italian mother. She didn't view what I was doing as really a profession. She viewed it as recreation. I said, 'Gee Mom, I'm going to be the head coach of the New York Giants.' And she said to me, 'When are you going to get a real job like your brother the banker?'"
She meant Don. Must be endearing memories, ones which certainly will collide with formations and coverages over the next several days.
From that same Star-Ledger story, Don Parcells sounds a whole lot like Bill, or maybe just a Parcells. He is quoted as saying of his struggle with the brain tumor, "I never felt sorry for myself. I never whined about it. I never asked the question, 'Why me?' It is what it is.
"I decided if this was it, I was going kicking and scratching to the end. Bill liked that attitude. He said, 'I'm with you. I'm with you all the way.'"
I'm guessing he was, and will be however unfortunate the timing might be. And you know, it's really good to know that about him, too.