Bill Parcells Won’t Coach Saints in 2012; Did Flirtation Hurt Sean Payton’s Appeal?

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In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Bill Parcells will apparently not coach the New Orleans Saints next season.

While the prospect of him coaching the team in the first place initially caught a lot of people off guard, the fact that it made so much sense (in a weird way) made most insiders think that it was destined to happen.

Too bad Parcells doesn’t want to un-retire.

According to ESPN:

Sean Payton's suspension takes effect Monday, but it is a virtual certainty that Bill Parcells will not become interim coach for the New Orleans Saints in 2012, according to team sources.

While there has been minimal communication between the Saints and Parcells in the past week, a source said that Parcells indicated to Payton in a recent conversation that he preferred to remain retired.

The 70-year-old soon-to-be Hall of Famer seemed like a perfect temporary figurehead to lead New Orleans while Sean Payton served out his Bountygate suspension, and his spurning the squad leaves a lot of things up in the air. As noted in that same ESPN report, assistant coach Joe Vitt will likely serve as interim coach when the Saints get to work on their offseason program next week, but his six-game Bountygate suspension means that he won’t be available when the new season starts either. So essentially, this team will need an interim for their interim for the first part of 2012 if Vitt ends up being the guy to replace Payton.

Last year when Payton spent several weeks recovering from a broken leg, it was Vitt and offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael Jr. who handled most of the responsibilities on an interim basis.

One way or another, the Saints will obviously find someone to fill the head coaching hole, but it’s still a little surprising that Parcells didn’t jump at this opportunity. Given the interest that seemed to exist on both sides, and coupled with Parcells’ close relationship with Payton – this seemed to be a win-win for all parties involved.

Parcells’ decision also brings us to another interesting question: did Roger Goodell think that Parcells would join up with the Saints when he denied Payton’s suspension appeal this past Monday? It would make sense for the NFL commissioner to not reduce Payton’s suspension if there was a credible replacement already in place. Seeing as we now know that a credible replacement isn’t in place, though, that puts a whole new spin on the matter.

Payton’s suspension will run through Super Bowl XLVII which, ironically, will be held in New Orleans.

(Note: Tune in today to the Bottom Line Sports Show as they talk Ozzie Guillen's comments. Bobby Petrino, New Orleans Saints/Bill Parcells and much more)

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