I’m about to go total football fanboy with this one so bare with me…..
I am a Tom Coughlin fan.
He is my personal favorite New York Giants coach ever and that’s saying a lot.
Since becoming a lifelong fan in 1990, it was always a forgone conclusion that I’d never respect anyone more than Bill Parcells. Even after going through class acts like Dan Reeves and Jim Fassel, Parcels to me was always atop the Giants triangle of greatest coaches for me.
Then T.C. came in ’04.
I must admit it wasn’t easy. Here was this hard-ass coach who truly brought in some otherwise dated mantras to Big Blue; preaching discipline, sometimes to the point of divisiveness within the locker room. Don’t believe me — ask Michael Strahan. He nearly retired a year earlier because he couldn’t stand Coughlin. Called him impersonal.
But he adjusted. That alone had to be hard for him. He softened his approach and for whatever reason it helped catapult the Giants in 2007 to one of the most improbable playoff runs in NFL history including upsetting the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl 42.
Even with another Super Bowl title four seasons later against those same Patriots, Coughlin’s feet always seemed close to the fire with fans calling for his job seemingly every season — regardless of the two Super Bowl titles. I really have to commend the New York Giant front office for having the foresight to remain patient, steadfast and loyal. Because any other coach that misses the postseason five of the last six seasons would’ve lost their job half way through their tenure. Instead, this franchise believes in stability. You know what happens when you display yourself as a unstable franchise? You become the clown shows Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins are present day.
Now regardless if Tom Coughlin actually left on his own terms or was forced out by the ownership team of John Mara and Steve Tisch, let me be perfectly clear here — the right move was made.
For many reasons notwithstanding, Coughlin turns 70 years old later this year. Granted he’s still sharp, but this past season was a death nail for any chance of another year — especially when you consider the Giants blew upwards of six games that were lost within the final minute — some due to simple coaching blunders. And it was done in a year the NFC East was as wide open as ever. The division was eventually conceded to the team many picked to finish last in the division — the Washington Redskins
In a few days, I will feel less sad about the end of the Tom Coughlin era and more excited about the unknown future of the New York Football Giants but the reality is this:
The Giants lost a great leader, an upstanding human being and a man of integrity.
Thank you for a wonderful 12 seasons — rocky as some were.
Thank you T.C.
Thank you very much!!