Life is simpler now for Bill Parcells.
At 74, the Hall of Fame coach's lone tie to the NFL has Parcells occasionally consulting with the Cleveland Browns amid a more active investment in "racing horses and playing golf" at dual homesteads in Saratoga, New York, and Jupiter, Florida.
Parcells, though, maintains a lingering fascination in the form of Mike Zimmer, recording and watching every game his long-time friend puts on tape as the second-year coach of the Minnesota Vikings.
Each week, Parcells faithfully texts a few words to Zimmer -- "Usually, that would be two incomplete sentences -- that's it," he said, per ESPN.com's Ben Goessling -- but Zimmer, per Goessling, "regards the texts as treasured gold."
"I'm just looking," Parcells said. "I'm a Giant at heart -- that's my team, that's what I grew up watching. I'm always interested in the Giants, and have a high regard for Tom Coughlin. But to be honest with you, I'm going to try to find out what the heck's going on here. It's just, 'Let's see.' I'm not rooting for or against anybody. I have a vested interest in both of those people."
Parcells, though, admits a soft spot for Zimmer since the two joined forces in Dallas, where Zimmer had worked as an assistant for nine seasons when the Big Tuna was hired by the Cowboys in 2003. The two clicked right away.
"I tried to take him aside from time to time and talk to him about some situational things, things that were going on with the team -- 'When you're a head coach, I just want to explain to you why I'm doing what I'm doing,'" Parcells said. "I thought he had potential, but you're never sure, because you can't explain what being a head coach is like and how it's different than being an assistant. People have to go through it, and never know how it's going to happen. But I'm very happy that he's got the chance. I think football needs guys like him."
Said Parcells of Zimmer: "I think he stands for the right things in terms of coaching, evaluation of players, makeup of players. I think he's honest, tough and he's not afraid of confrontation. I think those things are all good."
Parcells obviously believes it after recommending Zimmer to the Vikings two offseasons ago. Whatever consultation he's given the Browns, it can't top the tip he gave a Minnesota franchise looking to find its way back to the postseason.
"(General manager) Rick (Spielman) called me and asked me about Mike," Parcells said. "I said, 'I think you would like him. I think you would have a lot in common.' I think it's worked well so far."