I don't know how tight the NFL head coach fraternity really is, since the National Football League is a dog-eat-dog world and head coaches wear milk bone britches. I do know, however, that it is a small fraternity. It only ever has, at any given time, 32 members.
It is also an elite fraternity, even if you have to break into it in some Godforsaken outpost like Buffalo, New York.
I am sure that, when one of the members of this group is fired, every other member feels his own mortality. That is how one gets from sympathy to empathy, by being able to actually put your feet in that person's shoes. It is an "ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee" kind of thing. It is the reason you can weep even at the funeral of a person you never knew. That coffin is calling your own name.
Just a few weeks ago, after his Giants stumbled out of the gate, folks in the Big A-Hole (aka, the Big Apple) were calling for his head.
Now, after righting the Giants' ship and turning the current debate into whether they are the best team in the NFC rather than whether the Giants need to fire their head coach, Coughlin is back in good standing and working towards taking his place alongside Bill Parcells as one of the greatest coaches in team history.
Such is the life of a head coach in the NFL.
So, it is little wonder Coughlin offered his heartfelt condolences to the now-former Cowboys coach Wade Phillips.
"I feel very badly for Wade, to be honest with you," Coughlin said. "It's a highly competitive business that we're in, and we want to win and we want to win every game. That's the nature of our profession.
'No one wants to see a coach dismissed or have his family go through what they're going through, so from a professional standpoint and someone that's one of the 32 (head coaches), we extend our best to Wade and his family.''
Of course, with a game against the Cowboys looming large, Coughlin may just be sad that he doesn't have Wade to kick around anymore, seeing as Coughlin's Giants have handed Wade's Cowboys some of their most disappointing and humiliating losses in recent years.
I am sure Tom misses Wade already.
P.S.—Don't feel too sorry for Wade. He will be okay. I doubt his house will be foreclosed upon or his wife will be using food stamps at the local Albertson's. He wasn't fired from the night shift at the 7-Eleven. A nice $5 million ought to see him through these trying and difficult times.