2 Big Lessons from Big Tuna’s (Bill Parcells) Hall of Fame Speech.

Hall of Fame Football


Sometimes numbers alone can tell the story of an organization’s leadership.

Here is the Win/Loss record for the NY Giants:


1964: 2-10-2

1965: 7-7

1966: 1-12-1

1967: 7-7

1968: 7-7

1969: 6-8

1970: 9-5

1971: 4-10

1972: 8-6

1973: 2-11-1

1974: 2-12

1975: 5-9

1976: 3-11

1977: 5-9

1978: 6-10

1979: 6-10

1980: 4-12

1981: 9-7

1982: 4-5


For those scoring at home, that’s a Win/Loss record of 97 wins… 168 losses… and 4 ties in 19 years.


36% win percentage.

Average of 5 wins per season.

2 decades of garbage.


Then Bill Parcells becomes Head Coach.

1983: 3-12-1

1984: 9-7

1985: 10-6

1986: 14-2 (Super Bowl champs)

1987: 6-9

1988: 10-6

1989: 12-4

1990: 13-3 (Super Bowl champs)




2 Super Bowls in a 5-year span.

Win percentage jumps from 36% to 61%.

Wins per season jump to 10 (Yes, the NFL did add 2 more games to the schedule. But still….)



In New England, the Patriots were clowns before Parcells arrived.

1989: 5-11

1990: 1-15

1991: 6-10

1992: 2-14


The Big Tuna lands in New England and in 2 of the next 3 seasons they post double-digit wins and make the playoffs.


Up next: New York Jets.

Before Tuna….


1992: 4-12

1993: 8-8

1994: 6-10

1995: 3-13

1996: 1-15


After Tuna…


1997: 9-7

1998: 12-4 (Make playoffs)

1999: 8-8


Yawn…. Cowboys. You’re already ahead of me, right?

2000: 5-11

2001: 5-11

2002: 5-11




Add Tuna.

2003: 10-6 (Make playoffs)

2004: 6-10

2005: 9-7

2006: 9-7 (Make playoffs)



You get the idea.

Wherever Tuna goes, Tuna wins.

He is the only coach in NFL history to take 4 different teams to the playoffs.


At his Hall of Fame induction speech this past weekend, Bill Parcells made 2 points that I’ve been thinking about ever since.


Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 4.07.28 PM

Speaking of advice given to him by Dean Pryor, the Hastings College administrator who hired Parcells for his first coaching job:

“Bill, the players deserve a chance to win, and you as an organization or university and a coaching staff and an individual coach and a head coach, have an obligatory responsibility to give it to them.”


Same applies on the jobsite. It’s your daily responsibility to put the workers on your site in a position to win.

Make your expectations clear, train them to do their best and then… get all the BS out of their way.

Then YOU get out of the way.


And because it can literally mean life and death – this obligatory responsibility is especially true in Safety. It’s your responsibility to prepare them to succeed.

If you agree training is critical for success, but refuse to provide training in the workers‘ language of preference, that’s on you.

If that means you need Safety training in English, Spanish, Polish, Russian, and South Side… do it.


Help them.

Give them a chance to succeed.      



Screen shot 2013-07-18 at 4.07.33 PM

“Now, talent aside, we know it’s the football business, but the only prerequisite for acceptance into that locker room is you’ve got to be willing to contribute to the greater good. And if you are willing to do that, you are readily accepted. If you’re not, you’re pretty much quickly rejected.

Now we’ve got all kinds in this place. We’ve got white, we’ve got black, we’ve got Latin, we’ve got Asian, we’ve got Samoans, we’ve got Tongans, we’ve got Native Americans. Ladies and gentlemen, I played and coached with them all, and the only thing that made any difference is are you willing to help? And if you are, come on in. If you’re not, get the heck out of here.”


As you walk around your site today, consider how many people on your job are willing to contribute to the greater good. 

How many are truly willing to help?

Probably more than you recognize on a daily basis.


Now the questions is: How can you bring them into the fold?

How can you harness their expertise, talent, and passion for the greater good?

How can you show appreciation for their effort?


On the jobsite or the gridiron – Leadership makes all the difference.

That’s why when a team goes 1-15… you don’t fire all the players.


You change the coach.


Do you know what Bill Parcells did before coaching in the NFL full-time?

He worked in construction… land development.




Bradley Hartmann is founder and El Presidente at Red Angle (www.redanglespanish.com), a training and consulting firm bridging the English-Spanish (and a bit of Polish…) language gap in the construction industry. 

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Categories: Construction Spanish, Jobsite Leadership

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