Super Bowl 2012: Which Head Coaches Give Their Teams the Edge

Gabe Zaldivar@gabezalPop Culture Lead WriterJanuary 17, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 14:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on during warm ups against the Denver Broncos during their AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Gillette Stadium on January 14, 2012 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Four leaders of men are vying for the ultimate in football riches. Only one is a truly gifted head coach on a panel of giants, and you might be surprised to see who it is. 

Every great team has a leader who is willing to shape the mantra of that contending squad. Whether you have a cocky team that will talk trash and play with swagger is largely left up to the man with the clipboard. 

Here are the four remaining head coaches and what they bring to the locker room. All of them are winners, but only one gives their team the edge they need to take home the Lombardi trophy. 

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 01:  John Harbaugh the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens watches the action during the NFL game against  the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on January 1, 2012 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

John Harbaugh: It's all about the little things with John Harbaugh. You are going to come in and execute every little facet of the game to the best of your ability. That means defense and special teams get special attention. 

The Ravens put high importance on winning the battle of turnovers. As CBS Sports reports, 17 of Baltimore's points against the Texans were scored after takeaways.

The elder Harbaugh has shaped a team that is neither glamorous nor pretty on offense, but they get the job done and that is all that matters.  

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 27:  Head coach Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots looks on against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on November 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Patriots won 38-20.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Bill Belichick: The Hoodie is up there with the most prolific coaches in the game. You won't hear him go on for hours about what his team is going to do like Rex Ryan. 

Belichick is quiet and demure with the media, but is a monster on the sidelines. The Hoodie has no problem making the tough decision and gambling on a gut-wrenching play. There is ice in this guy's veins and his leadership is unquestioned. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14:  Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with head coach Jim Harbaugh after Davis scored a touchdown in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints during the NFC Divisional playoff game at Candlestick P
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh: You can't go into the NFL and bring passion and exuberance. At least, that is what we were all told prior to Jim Harbaugh stepping foot into the 49ers locker room. 

He was supposed to be far too passionate and "in your face" to get much from these jaded professionals. So much for all that. Harbaugh has treated each game like the Super Bowl and his guys have bought it. We are about to see if that kind of level of play is exhausting or engaging. 

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01:  Head coach Tom Coughlin New York Giants hugs Kenny Phillips #21 after defeating the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)
Michael Heiman/Getty Images

Tom Coughlin: If you stand close to Tom Coughlin's seat, you can probably feel the heat emanate from it. This head coach is forever on the hot seat and finds a way to continue on as the leader of New York's beloved G-Men. 

While you will see Coughlin yell and ballyhoo every last call on the sidelines, he deals with his players far differently and that is the difference. 

Winner: Underrated and not nearly as appreciated as he should be, Tom Coughlin is the head coach that gives his players that best chance of winning. 

Just like his quarterback, Eli Manning, Coughlin gets far more vitriol than love. However, you won't see him gripe. Instead, he comes in and does his job like a man, and that rubs off on his players. Here is what guard David Diel had to say. Via SportingNews

He knows how to talk to the veterans in this locker room, when to challenge people, when to lighten up. You want a leader who believes in you, and in order to believe in you, he’s got to know you.

Being a head coach is just as much about being a psychologist as it is about strategy and X's and O's. Coughlin will have the Giants calm and measured during an emotionally draining time, and that is what will matter in the end.