Tom Coughlin will continue as head coach of the New York Giants in 2014-15 despite speculation about his future. Owner John Mara spoke to the media on Monday and gave Coughlin a vote of confidence (via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News):
John Mara: "I expressed to Tom we do want him back. I do have confidence in him." #NYG— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 30, 2013
John Mara said coaching staff changes will be discussed. "I have my opinion on that."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 30, 2013
General manager Jerry Reese also spoke about his faith in Coughlin to turn things around for the Giants (via Vacchiano):
Jerry Reese on Tom Coughlin's future: "We haven't had a conversation ... Absolutely I want him back."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 30, 2013
Expected to compete for an NFC East title in 2013, the Giants instead started 0-6 as quarterback Eli Manning got off to the worst start of his career. While they rebounded a bit in the second half of the season, New York was officially eliminated from playoff contention with a 37-14 loss to San Diego in Week 14. Since then, speculation about Coughlin's job status has run rampant. Despite the thought that he might retire, Coughlin told the media that he wanted to return to New York (via Vacchiano):
Tom Coughlin: "I do want to coach."— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoNYDN) December 30, 2013
As for when Coughlin might move on from the game, Mara spoke about Coughlin's thought process as it pertained to retirement (via Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News):
Mara: I am not sure he (Coughlin) knows when (it will be his last year)— Ebenezer Samuel (@ebenezersamuel) December 30, 2013
The move continues what has been arguably the most successful head-coaching run in modern Giants history. Coughlin is the franchise's post-merger wins leader with 90, has won three division titles and led New York to Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI victories against the New England Patriots—both coming as heavy underdogs.
Among modern-day Giants coaches, only Bill Parcells' resume holds a candle. Coughlin and Parcells are responsible for New York's four Super Bowl championships, with Jim Fassel being the only other to even lead them to a conference title. (Hall of Fame coach Steve Owen is the team's all-time wins leader with 151 and won NFL championships, though he coached from 1931 to 1953.)
Coughlin's playoff success is what has afforded him leeway in New York's hotbed of criticism. However, the head coach has failed to match the consistency he showed in the early stages of his tenure. After making the playoffs in four of his first five seasons, the Giants have now failed four times in five years, with the lone exception being the Super Bowl run in 2011.
This past season was an especially frustrating one. Manning's interception troubles received much of the publicity, but the Giants' defense didn't help matters. The team's once-vaunted pass rush again failed to live up to its prodigious hype, helping lead to mediocre metrics overall. New York also struggled to get a ground game going with Andre Brown out of the lineup, as Coughlin got so desperate he had to re-sign veteran Brandon Jacobs.
As for next season, there is enough talent on the roster that a contender could be put together for 2014, and the organization believes Coughlin is the man to do it.
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