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If anyone is going to do the unimaginable and beat the undefeated Patriots in 2015, it’s going to be the New York Giants, who led by head coach Tom Coughlin, are in first place in the NFC East.¬†

By Justin Weiss

When New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin joined Big Blue in January 2004, he arrived with a slogan that would resonate with hundreds of players over the next few decades.

One, that raised the enthusiasm level to the max:

“What we must be all about now is the restoration of pride, of self-pride, of team pride, the restoration of our professionalism and the dignity with which we conduct our business,” the now 68-year-old said. “We must replace despair with hope and return the energy and passion to New York Giants football.”

A little history lesson: When Coughlin, a renowned disciplinarian, was hired head coach of the New York Giants, then Vice President and now General Manager Jerry Reese said that the organization was “in trouble.”

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What he did after that — leading the G-Men to two Super Bowl victories and a handful of incredible upsets — is one of the greatest examples of what good coaching can do for a franchise. The stability that New York has enjoyed¬†with Coughlin, whose daughter married former All-Pro Giants offensive lineman Chris Snee, is practically something taken from a storybook.

“When I signed with the Giants in March 2004,” Shaun O’Hara recalled, “the first meeting we had as a team, that’s when Coach talked about–New York Giants Pride. He was adamant. He had a whole new team with new coaches, and he made sure we knew it.”

“He said, ‘I don’t know how many games we’re going to win but this is the greatest franchise in the history of the NFL.’ He wanted everyone to understand that it’s not just another team.”

That’s the culture Coughlin has instilled since taking the reigns in early 2004. Whether you like him or not, believe that his offensive attack is too conservative or that his defensive philosophy is too aggressive, the man with control of the team has made sure that the Giants play with class, and that when they lose, they do it while putting up a fight.


“When opportunity comes, it’s too late to prepare.” — John Wooden

I certainly can’t fathom how this team composed of no names would produce under a different coach. I wouldn’t be able to see them being nearly as disciplined, either. Too many coaches in this league command about as much respect as Rex Ryan has had with the Jets and now the Bills.

Coughlin has given the team an identity, one that has restored a sense of tradition and history. His team’s have displayed resiliency since day one, and have never, ever showed up to a game under or unprepared.

“There’s no quit in this team,” defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. “We keep on fighting even if the outcome seems done. We have a belief as a team that we can do it.”

Before New York takes on the New England Patriots on Sunday, think about all the success Coughlin has achieved against the defending Super Bowl champs. If there’s anyone who’s going to be able to take down the undefeated Pats — even with an underwhelming Giants defense that features a handful of undrafted players such as Uani Unga, Kerry Wynn and Jonathan Casillas — it’s Big Blue’s coach, who has done a remarkable job giving Big Blue an identity.

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Justin Weiss is a staff editor at Elite Sports New York, where he covers the New York Islanders and Brooklyn Cyclones. In 2016, he received a Quill Award for Freelance Journalism. He has written for the Long Island Herald, FanSided and YardBarker.