ESPN, The New York Post, and several other sources have reported that the New York Football Giants and head coach Tom Coughlin have parted ways. The Giants missed the playoffs for the fourth straight season, finishing off the year at a measly 6-10. Just short of 70 years old, many thought that this would be Coughlin’s final season regardless of the G-Men’s finish. It seems pretty clear though that both sides are ready to move on.
After 12 years in the Big Apple, Coughlin is finally done. Two things need to be discussed here. First, I want to look at how this affects the team. While Coughlin won 2 Super Bowl titles during his tenure, the last third of his stay just wasn’t good enough. Whether he’s 49, 59 or 69, that just doesn’t cut it with a fanbase like the Giants have. Listening to the same old voice after a while loses its power. My point here is that I think he gets fired after the performance this season. However, Coughlin also struck me as tired- whether the Giants won the Lombardi Trophy again or not, I think he would’ve retired anyways. Thus, the mutual decision to part ways. As far as talent on the field left behind from the Coughlin regime, I like a lot of the core guys they have in place; they’re not too far away from being a playoff team. Though, I think it’s worth saying that a head coaching change can be as scary as a quarterback change- you never know what you’re gonna get.
Second, I want to talk about Tom Coughlin’s legacy for a second. Right off the bat, I’ll say it- as a coach, I hate him. Plain and simple. He’s a former coach at BC, which isn’t a good start for me (obviously). Plus, he took two Super Bowls right out of Foxborough, and in the fourth quarter of each contest, no less (even more obvious). At Chestnut Hill, Coughlin went 41-39 for the Eagles, with his marquee win coming against the then-#1 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish in ’93. After BC, Coughlin was the first head coach in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars. Spending eight years there, Coughlin went to the playoffs four straight times, including two AFC Championship games. The team fell on some tough times in Coughlin’s last few seasons, which led to his firing.
Then, he went to the Giants. He seemed to gel with quarterback Eli Manning, and the two enjoyed some success. Coughlin helped to cut down the notorious fumbling problem that running back Tiki Barber had. Over 12 years, Coughlin went 102-90, while winning the NFC East three times. Adding those totals to his career in Jacksonville, Tom Coughlin’s final record is 170-150, with five division championships, four conference championship appearances, and two Super Bowl Titles in as many tries.
I think Tom Coughlin’s accolades earn him immortality in Canton. Coughlin deserves the Pro Football Hall of Fame because of his ability to get the very most out of his guys. A .531 winning percentage isn’t the sexiest, but when you consider that, realistically speaking, Coughlin’s teams rarely had the top-of-the-line talent on the field, it’s an impressive feat. The man is the reason that football in Jacksonville didn’t become a complete, utter disaster (the product on the field is solid, the fans are what makes the team look bad) and the reason that Giants football returned to relevancy. Though I’m not a fan, I do respect Coughlin a lot as a coach and as a professional.
Cover photo courtesy of maguzz.com.