The all time great head coaches are remembered visually. Vince Lombardi is remembered for his stern and unbending presence. Bill Parcells is remembered by his New Jersey wit and his infamous facial expressions. Heck even, Bill Cowher gets to be remembered by his iconic angry chin. Tom Coughlin however has the misfortune of being remembered by his red cheeks in the blustery New York wind.
He is not regularly thought of in the same breath as Lombardi, Parcells and even Bill Walsh (my holy trinity of coaches) but he left an undeniable imprint on the game of football. If ever there was a coach who put every little bit of himself into the game, that’s the great Coughlin. The legacy of Coughlin is one of the toughness and relentless persistence that brought two Super Bowl championships to the Big Apple.
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Coughlin is part of the storied coaching tree of Parcells. The Parcells’ coaching tree also includes Bill Belichick and Sean Payton. Under Parcells as the receivers coach, Coughlin was a part of the Super Bowl XXV New York Giants. In 1995 Coughlin became the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For seven years Coughlin was the Jaguars tough edged coach and he took them to two AFC Championship appearances. In 2004 he was brought on to resurrect a proud Giants franchise that needed the right leadership to once again head back into a winning direction.
In his time as the Giants head coach, there has been a lot of good times including eight seasons above .500, four consecutive playoff appearances and two Super Bowl championships. In the Super Bowl Seasons, Coughlin did some amazing work.
Both championship teams had their struggles and to be honest were not the best team in the years that they won it all. The Giants were good but magic struck and they got hot at the right time.
The championship teams were all about defeating the odds as evidenced by the David Tyree catch in Super Bowl XLII. In both Super Bowls the Giants were underdogs against the New England Patriots; in 2007 the Giants were the only team to beat New England. The team took on the persona of their coach and were tough and determined to win it all.
Coughlin is arguably worthy of enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He is a great coach and I truly believe he is a great man. The coach had a reputation for being too demanding and burning out his players as he certainly ticked some people off along the way. The coach has never been afraid to butt heads, much like his mentor in Parcells.
While Coughlin may be intense at times, he never does anything rash. I really could care less where you rank him, he deserves his credit. I cannot imagine the Giants without him, a sight we may see in the coming months. At the end of it all, Giants fans will always remember Coughlin and be thankful for the impact he made on their beloved franchise.