When he learned he would not start the second game of the
exhibition season, Glenn Foley, who was supposed to be the Jets'
first-stringer, did what most of us do when we've hit rock
bottom: He called Mom. Boy, did she set him straight. "Glenn
started to talk about this and that and how Bill Parcells was
treating him, and I just cut him off," says Sue Foley. "I said,
'Hey, Glenn, not everybody has to love his boss. But we all still
have to do our job.'" In the case of a quarterback working for
Parcells, truer words may have never been spoken.
Foley won over Parcells with an impassioned
performance against the Giants.
Foley, the carrot-topped former Boston College passer, entered
training camp as the No. 1 quarterback after Parcells had cut
high-priced and often ineffective Neil O'Donnell in the
off-season. The move was based largely on Foley's scrappy
performances while subbing for O'Donnell in 1997, particularly a
24-19 comeback victory over the Patriots in Week 8, a game in
which Foley completed 14 straight passes at one point and
engineered three second-half scoring drives.
But early in camp Parcells didn't see the same kind of fire in
Foley that he had witnessed last season. So Parcells, who was
worried that a subpar passing attack would force him to overuse
running back Curtis Martin, started free-agent pickup Vinny
Testaverde against the Ravens on Aug. 15. (For good measure
Parcells let Foley find out through the media.) After both
quarterbacks struggled in a 33-0 loss to Baltimore, Parcells
announced that Foley was his starter again.
Through it all, Foley tried to be as calm as Parcells was
calculating. "Hey, I knew way before it happened that something
like this was coming," says Foley, a seventh-round draft pick by
the Jets in 1994. "It's part of playing for Bill. I mean, the guy
had a quarterback controversy when he was in the Super Bowl with
the Giants. It's probably going to happen to me every year. You
fight through it. That's just the way he motivates me."
Whatever the system, it seems to have worked for Foley. A year
ago, as O'Donnell's clipboard caddie, he couldn't even get
tickets for his parents to the annual preseason game against the
Giants. So Sue and Ed Foley, who is also a former BC quarterback,
drove up the New Jersey Turnpike from Cherry Hill, sat in their
car in the Giants Stadium parking lot and listened to the game on
the radio. But last Thursday night, with Sue and Ed in the stands
for this year's rematch against the Giants, Foley completed his
first nine passes and finished 14 of 22 for 192 yards and one TD
in a little more than two quarters of work. The 27-23 win earned
Foley a hug from Mom and praise from Parcells, who said, "This is
what I hoped would happen. He's got work to do, but that was
Most important, Foley attacked the defense and played with
passion. When Giants star cornerback Jason Sehorn went down with
a season-ending knee injury on the opening kickoff, Foley picked
apart every sub the Giants used in Sehorn's spot. Foley also
audibled several times to plays that yielded big gains.
After throwing an interception that safety Percy Ellsworth
returned 42 yards for a touchdown at the start of the second
half, Foley was afraid he might get yanked again. "With Bill you
never know what to expect," he says. Instead Foley returned on
the next series and threw a 30-yard strike to Keyshawn Johnson.
Afterward Parcells was so impressed with how Foley had responded
that as he walked past Foley's locker, he shouted, "Hey, look,
it's Dan Fouts!"
For one night, anyway.
Issue date: August 31, 1998