You Can Call Bill Parcells ‘The Big Tuna’ but Just Don’t Call Him ‘Duane’ (2024)


You Can Call Bill Parcells ‘The Big Tuna’ but Just Don’t Call Him ‘Duane’ (1)


Mike Thomas

You Can Call Bill Parcells ‘The Big Tuna’ but Just Don’t Call Him ‘Duane’ (2)

Mike Thomas Sports Editor

Mike Thomas spent 23 years on staff and 16 years as the sports editor at The Herald News in Fall River, Mass., before joining Sportscasting in 2020. Mike has a deep knowledge of and passion for the NFL and NBA, and he excels at interviewing sports celebrities to find out their Super Bowl picks.A New England Newspaper and Press Association award-winning columnist and an avid sports memorabilia collector, Mike enjoys keeping up with all the sports news and the works of former Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly. You can find more of Mike's work on Muck Rack.

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Updated07 Jul 2020


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You Can Call Bill Parcells ‘The Big Tuna’ but Just Don’t Call Him ‘Duane’ (3)

As a very successful head coach in the National Football League, Bill Parcells has probably been called everything in the book. He’s been called arrogant and stubborn. Parcells has won two Super Bowls with the New York Giants and has been called brilliant and a winner. His players and members of the media have even called him The Big Tuna. Whatever you do, just don’t call him Duane.

Bill Parcells’ NFL coaching career

RELATED: Bill Parcells’ Many Superstitions Bordered on Insanity

Bill Parcells was a very good athlete in his younger days. He was good enough as a football player to have been selected by the Detroit Lions in the seventh round of the 1964 draft. He never made the team, however, as he was cut right before the season started.

Parcells then got into coaching. After years of coaching at the collegiate level and then taking an assistant coaching position with the New England Patriots as the linebackers coach. In 1983, Parcells landed his first NFL coaching job with the New York Giants. After going 3-12-1 in his first season as an NFL head coach, Parcells put together three straight winning seasons, including a 14-2 season in 1986 when the Giants won the Super Bowl.

Parcells won two Super Bowls during his eight-year run with the Giants. In that time, he compiled a record of 85-52-1, including playoff wins. Parcells then moved on to the New England Patriots and guided his team to a Super Bowl berth in his four seasons there. After New England, Parcells was the head coach of the New York Jets for three seasons and then led the Dallas Cowboys for four more. For his career, Parcells went 172-130-1 in the regular season and 11-8 in the playoffs.

Parcells said he regrets leaving the Patriots

Bill Parcells had won two Super Bowls during his eight-year reign with the New York Giants. He admitted to The Huffington Post that he may have have been a little stubborn or ‘headstrong’ as he put it during his time with the New England Patriots. He and Patriots owner may have had an ego clash which ultimately led him out of New England.

“I regret leaving New England. Had we done things differently … “ Parcells said. “I had a good young team there. I hated to leave that team, because I knew what we could do. I was absolutely too headstrong. And he might have been a little headstrong, too. I think both Kraft and myself, retrospectively, would have done things a little differently.”

Parcells said back then that he wanted more control over decisions. “If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries,” he famously said. He did say that he and Kraft have made peace.

Don’t call Parcells ‘Duane’

When Bill Parcells was in New England, he acquired a new nickname.
”When I was coaching with the Patriots,” he told The New York Times, ”the players pulled a practical joke and I said, ‘Do you think I’m Charlie the Tuna, like a sucker?’ After that, they called me Tuna.” What many people don’t know is that ‘Tuna’ was just another nickname, along with ‘Bill.’

Parcells was born Duane Charles Parcells. He never took a liking to the name Duane and lucky for him there was another boy in his school that looked like Parcells named Bill. In Bill Gutman’s Parcells: A Biography, Gutman writes: “Ironically, when Charles and Ida Parcells had their first son they didn’t name him Bill. The future National Football League coach with the oh-so-familiar name was actually christened Duane Charles Parcells when he was born on August 22, 1941, in Englewood, New Jersey. The change to Bill came in his early teenage years when a number of people mistook him for another boy, a look-alike, who happened to be named Bill. Young Duane Parcells found he liked being called Bill. Somehow, it had a better ring to it than Duane. He took it as a nickname, and it stuck.”

You Can Call Bill Parcells ‘The Big Tuna’ but Just Don’t Call Him ‘Duane’ (2024)
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