The New York Giants have known few like him. Unheralded and written off before he began, Tom Coughlin leaves the organization with two Super Bowl rings and a legacy that will be near impossible to replicate, let alone surpass. The moment he walked into the door in 2004 to his departure at the turn of 2016, the no-nonsense New York native transformed Big Blue from a basket case to a powerhouse. How many others can say that in the NFL coaching fraternity?
Strangely enough the 69-year old hasn’t officially retired despite turning down the Philadelphia Eagles. Many would think at that age the decorated coach would hang up the clipboard and whistle while riding off into the sunset, but coaches are different like that. Maybe the North East rivalry with the Eagles made that position untenable, so should another opportunity come along we might not have seen the last of this man.
The Jacksonville Jaguars experience leading into the Giants gave Coughlin an insight into taking the head role at NFL level and this is where he cut his cloth accordingly. To think he took that franchise to four playoff appearances on the bounce and two AFC Championship games defies belief given their continual problems. But for all that, satisfying the New York market is a different beast altogether.
It says the obvious to note two Super Bowls as the pinnacle for every coach. When we dig a little deeper, sometimes the failures proved just as pivotal to reaching those heights. One defeat in particular told Coughlin more about the developing psyche of the playing group than any victory did that season. Head coaches who find those positives and instill confidence after a loss have a special ability to lead teams to glory and for Coughlin this was very much the case.
These are the top 15 Tom Coughlin moments with the New York Giants in chronological order.
15 First Season 2004
14 Banking on Eli Manning
13 Michael Strahan Confrontation
12 Winning 2005 NFC East Division
11 Helping Tiki Barber
10 Making 2006 Playoffs
9 38-35 Loss Against Patriots
8 Championship Victory At Green Bay
7 Super Bowl XLII
6 2011 Jets Clash
5 Super Bowl XLVI
4 Developing Jason Pierre-Paul
3 Drafting Odell Beckham Jr.
2 Respect from Bill Belichick
1 Departure Speech
It’s often said that it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. Leaving after 12 years at the Giants, Coughlin deflected all of his admiration onto the players and wanted to stress how much he loved them. Without a dry eye in the house, the coach gave a parting compliment and a message of advice to the club moving forward. “You see these gentlemen here, in the crowd, in this crowd, that have played for this organization. They represent what I'm talking about. Not just winners on the field, but better yet, winners in life. People you can be proud of. You'd like these people for your next-door neighbor. That's how important it is to me.”
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