- The Washington Times - Friday, January 3, 2003

Of course, the hiring of Bill Parcells to coach the Dallas Cowboys is again proof that fact is stranger than fiction.
How? Well, now there are two Tunas in Texas the Big Tuna football coach and the mythical town of Tuna, Texas, where "the Lion's Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies."
Big Tuna, meet Greater Tuna.
How great is that? The nickname for the new Dallas Cowboys coach is the same as the name of the imaginary Texas town portrayed in the play created by three Texas guys nearly 20 years ago to poke fun at the eccentricities of small-town life in the state.
"Greater Tuna" is a play well known to Washingtonians, a fixture here in town, as well as the two other plays based on Tuna that create the Tuna trilogy: "A Tuna Christmas" and "Red White, and Tuna."
There's Vera Carp, the richest woman in town and vice president of the Smut Snatcher club whose goal is to rid the dictionary of all offensive words, and Aunt Pearl, whose hobby is to poison the town's stray dogs.
Now there are Bill Parcells and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, which could turn out to be a funnier show than any of the previous Tuna efforts and could inspire a fourth edition: "A Tuna Football Team."
Washington football fans better hope the tale of Parcells and Jones turns out to be a comedy. It certainly has the potential to be. Texas is an awfully big state, but it may not be big enough for the egos of these two men.
"I became convinced that this was the opportunity at this time that was right for Bill Parcells," the Big Tuna said yesterday when introduced as the new Cowboys coach.
First day out of the box, and he is already referring to himself in the third person. He will fit right in among the citizens of Tuna, Texas.
But what if it doesn't turn out to be a comedy? What if the story of Bill Parcells and Jerry Jones turns out to be the return of the once-proud Cowboys franchise to greatness? The tendency is to expect the worst out of both of these cartoon characters. (Yes, Parcells now falls under the category of cartoonish for his repeated entrances and final exits from coaching, and Jones now looks the part with his bizarre plastic surgeries.) But Parcells is a great coach, with two Super Bowl championships coaching the Giants and another trip to the Super Bowl as the Patriots' coach, and Jones does have three Super Bowl rings as the Cowboys' owner.
They both may be as goofy as Vera Carp, but they also know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl. That's something that neither Dan Snyder nor Steve Spurrier can claim.
Whatever lies ahead in the tale of Big Tuna, it promises to be interesting and will certainly energize all of the old rivalries within the NFC East among the Cowboys and the rival Eagles, Giants and Redskins. It will pump much needed life into the Redskins-Cowboy rivalry, with the Ball Coach facing the Big Tuna like in some sort of Japanese monster movie.
And it also certainly will put more pressure on Spurrier to win, because while Parcells is the bigger fish, Spurrier has the bigger paycheck. Parcells reportedly got a four-year contract worth $17.1million. Spurrier will be entering the second year of a five-year deal worth $25million.
If Parcells can work his magic on the hapless 5-11 Cowboys quickly, it will be hard for Dan Snyder not to seethe over the notion that he is paying a coach with no Super Bowl rings a million dollars a year more than the coach with two Super Bowl rings.
That doesn't add up, not even in a strange place like Tuna, Texas, where the Ball Coach could find himself pitching it and catching it with Aunt Pearl if he doesn't throw a net over the Big Tuna when they meet.


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