Tom Coughlin is a saint. The 65-year-old New York Giants head coach is probably the only man in the history of New York sports who can have his head on the chopping block one week and a Super Bowl trophy held high above it the next.
In doing so, however, Coughlin has removed himself from the conversation with average Giants coaches like Jim Fassel and Dan Reeves and into the very same sentence as the most revered head coach in New York Giants history—Bill Parcells.
Like Parcells, Coughlin has managed to overcome all of the adversity—as well as hate from the media and fans alike—and bring home two Super Bowl championships for the New York Giants.
Boston may have deemed itself Titletown, but there might be no area in sports that demands a championship above everything else more than the New York area. With a second Super Bowl victory in five seasons—both over a Boston team and the hated Tom Brady no less—Coughlin has now safely placed himself amongst some of New York’s most beloved figures in sports.
And rightfully so.
Coughlin boasts an impressive .727 winning percentage in the postseason as the Giants head coach, tied with the legendary Parcells, who also held an 8-3 record during his eight seasons with New York. That winning percentage also puts him in the same class as the beloved Bill Belichick, the man whom he beat in each of his Giants’ Super Bowl victories, who also has a .727 winning percentage in 12 seasons as the Patriots head coach.
All the while, he has coached up Eli Manning since his rookie year. His leadership has helped to progress the former No. 1 draft pick to the point that the eight-year quarterback appears on pace to earn himself a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Despite yearly doubts about his Giants team, Coughlin has been able to get the very best from the players he is given. As a result, in spite of negative predictions each year for Coughlin and his team, the Giants have never had a losing season in Coughlin’s eight-year tenure.
In two of the Giants’ least promising seasons—a 2007 season with an infusion of youth and little optimism and a 2011 season with questionable talent and injuries galore—Coughlin turned his players into a Super Bowl-winning unit.
Now, the former Parcells assistant, who had the opportunity to enjoy his first Super Bowl victory under Parcells’ guidance with the Giants in 1991, can take his place beside his former mentor and bask in the majesty of his New York Giants legacy.
Finally, the Giants coach is free of all the criticism he’s faced over the years. Free of ever being placed on the hot seat again.
Congratulations Tom Coughlin, you’ve earned it.