Parcells, 61, who today will be named the sixth coach in Cowboy history, is three for three when it comes to turning around franchises that had losing records the year before he was hired. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants, took the Patriots to another and reached the playoffs with the Jets.
The Cowboys have called a news conference for 1 p.m. today and will introduce Parcells, who confirmed the news to ESPN, which employs him as a studio analyst. The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported earlier this week that the Cowboys had agreed to a four-year deal with Parcells that would pay him $4.5 million a season.
"[Cowboy owner Jerry Jones] has invested a lot in the Cowboys and the thing that drives him more than anything else is his desire to win," Parcells told ESPN.com. "That's the biggest common [denominator] we both have."
Roy Williams, a former Oklahoma safety who just finished his rookie season with the Cowboys, surprised ABC reporters at the Rose Bowl when he was interviewed on the Sooner sideline and he confirmed on national TV that Parcells' deal was done.
On Monday, the Cowboys fired coach Dave Campo in the wake of three consecutive 5-11 seasons. Jones said hiring a replacement with a proven NFL track record was a must. Each of the five Cowboy coaches -- including Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson -- made his debut as a head coach with that franchise. Parcells and Jones had at least two meetings totaling about 11 hours.
Only Landry, Don Shula, Chuck Noll and Joe Gibbs have more postseason victories than Parcells, who has an 11-6 record. His career mark is 138-100-1.
Jones reportedly was so interested in landing Parcells that he intends to give him more authority than anyone since Johnson, whom he hired after buying the team in 1989. Parcells reportedly will have control of his coaching staff, the 53-man roster and will help Jones shape the scouting staff. Jones is notorious for walking the sideline during games and monitoring the decisions his coaches make.
"You know, this is important to both Jerry and me," Parcells said. "We don't want to fail. It's got to work and I feel good about it."
Parcells has a history of quitting jobs abruptly or turning down offers unexpectedly. He twice has left Tampa Bay in the lurch, most recently last season before the Buccaneers hired Jon Gruden. Tampa Bay, which still has the contract he signed, now wants compensation from any team that hires him.
The Associated Press, citing two unnamed league sources, reported Wednesday the Buccaneers will not receive any compensation because the deal Parcells signed was not forwarded to the league office and therefore was never approved by Commissioner Paul Tagliabue.
Tagliabue, attending the Rose Bowl game, said he has not monitored the Parcells situation closely and had no comment on Tampa Bay's claim.