New York Giants: Tom Coughlin’s Legacy will Last Forever

Jan 5, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants former head coach Tom Coughlin addresses the media during a press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Jan 5, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants former head coach Tom Coughlin addresses the media during a press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O /

Tom Coughlin resigned as the New York Giants head coach after a disappointing 6-10 season, but his legacy will remain in Giants history forever.

Yesterday, the Giants let one of the NFL’s most recognizable figures walk out the door. Yes they opened the door and might have given him a little push as he passed by. Just take a look at the way Tom Coughlin stormed out in front of owner John Mara at today’s press conference.

If you didn’t see, following a rather emotional conference Coughlin darted towards the exit like he has done after every talk with the media during his twelve year tenure. But this time, he blew past his former boss like he wasn’t even there. Interesting, isn’t it?

Arguments since Week 1 of the 2015 season have gone back and forth on whether or not the 2-time Super Bowl champion can still coach, or if he’s done. I personally stand with Eli Manning’s statement: “We (the players) failed him.”

The 2015 Giants were the worst defensive team during Coughlin’s time in New York, and arguably the reason why they couldn’t quite close out any games this season. An argument could also be made that Coughlin coached these players up. In fact, name someone other than Manning or Odell Beckham Jr. on the roster with the game changing abilities that they possess? With the roster they were given, Giants coaches were coaching to make up for those clear roster limitations. This year is on you Jerry Reese, not Tom Coughlin.

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But regardless of what happened in the 2015 season, Coughlin will be remembered as not only one of the best coaches in football, but one of the best people in football.

Coughlin’s first experience with the Giants, and in the NFL, was as a member of Bill Parcells’ staff as the Wide Receivers Coach from 1988-1990. He was part of the Giants’ team that won Super Bowl XXV, then was hired to be the Head Coach at Boston College. He served there from 1991-1993, then got a shot at running an NFL club when he was hired as the first head coach for the newest expansion team, the Jacksonville Jaguars.

“He’s passionate about everything that he does, and you see that with his football and his job and being around the young guys, and he enjoys that. He enjoys the preparation part of the games and getting your team prepared for every situation that could come up.”-Eli Manning

He helped the Jaguars franchise build from the ground up and served there from 1995-2002, and then was brought back to New York to lead the Giants in 2004. Coughlin led the G-Men to a championship in 2008, the team’s first Super Bowl title in 17 years, then added another four years later.

During his twelve years in New York, he not only brought success to the city, but he also brought stability. Forget the past three seasons that led to the 69-year-old Coughlin’s resignation on Monday. Let’s dwell on the legacy that is Tom Coughlin.

Seven of the 32 franchises in the National Football League have multiple Super Bowl wins during the past quarter century. The Giants are one of them, and Coughlin was the captain of the ship during both victories.

Those Super Bowl wins are even more impressive considering the path Coughlin’s Giants took to reach the promised land. Big Blue wasn’t supposed to win, yet did against all odds. They failed to win more than 10 games in 2007 or 2011, and both teams were far from a first round bye.

Plus, the Giants had to win three games just to reach the Super Bowl. Coughlin is the only coach in NFL history to win four games in a single postseason twice.

The biggest, and most impressive, characteristic that runs through his genes is the ability to change. A prime example of that was back in 2007 when “Colonel Coughlin” went from tyrant to a player’s coach in hopes to get the most out of his players.

Players used to be afraid to have fun around him, but in 2007, Coughlin’s change in character helped him become one of the most popular and most successful coaches in the NFL.

Coughlin’s Giants enjoyed other fine seasons that didn’t end in a hoist of the Lombardi Trophy. No team in the NFC East won more games between 2005 and 2012 than New York. And trust me, it was pretty sweet to be a Giants fan during those years.

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Coughlin’s resignation from the Giants may not be the end of his coaching career, but if that is the case, he walks away as a lock for the Hall of Fame. Three Super Bowls, five division titles, 170 wins, and a prime example of stability for one of the league’s highest-profile franchises.