A thank you from a hardened New York Giants fan to one of the greatest coaches in the illustrious history of the franchise, Tom Coughlin.

By Justin Weiss

Tom Coughlin, former head coach of the New York Giants, is a combination of football brilliance, paramount discipline, and near laughable curmudgeon. He is Angry Grandpa. He is Red Tomato. He is Gringotts Bank Goblin.

To watch Coughlin on the sidelines during a game is to watch a frozen sculpture of an angry witch for three consecutive hours. A “what the —- just happened” look is always scowl-scrawled on his face. Only one emoticon is needed to be employed to describe the look on his countenance from a half-hour before kickoff to the final kneel.

“Fire Coughlin” chants bellowed forth at Metlife Stadium, even after Big Blue twice reached the pinnacle of the league under the disciplinarians reign. This is why “Angry Tom Coughlin Is My Favorite Tom Coughlin” was actually the title of an article in 2012. “Tom Coughlin is always angry” was once the name of a group on Facebook.

Tom Coughlin is also one of the greatest coaches in the history of football.

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“SECURE”

That is the military term for mission accomplished. It’s also the term used by Tom Coughlin with the same meaning.

When Coughlin arrived in New York, in 2003, he was known for fining players who showed up to practice two minutes early. Mentored by legendary coaches Bill Parcells and John Wooden, Coughlin has the reputation of being a stern disciplinarian and über-meticulous planner.

His daily routine puts his philosophy into perspective. Every day, at 5:30 a.m., he arrives at the team’s practice facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. At 6:10 a.m., he has a breakfast session that is dictated by an excel spreadsheet detailing his every move. Following a short coffee break, in which he wanders around the locker room (it is even spelled out on his spreadsheet), he has a team meeting with coaches and team personnel. Sharing his dinner time later in the day with the scouting team, he budgets his time just about as meticulously as one possibly can.

When informed about Coughlin’s routine by Conor Orr of NJ Advanced Media, Chris Snee had a simple response:

“That,” his son-in-law, Snee said, “does not surprise me at all.”

***

 

When former punter Steve Weatherford, then new to the Giants, was competing for a job with the team, he was terrified of one man: “Colonel Coughlin.”

He would end up speaking out in support of Coughlin, like so many others, following his retirement.

https://twitter.com/westonrichburg/status/684099057351016448

***

 

The 69-year-old native of Waterloo, New York exploded onto the scene in 1990, when he reversed the fate of a dying program and made them a perennial powerhouse in the ACC. During his stint with the Boston College Eagles, Coughlin turned the team into a consistent winner. In 1993 his squad beat number one ranked Notre Dame 41-39, providing BC with their first ever victory over the Fighting Irish.

Impressed by his success in the FBS, the Jacksonville Jaguars, a new expansion team, hired Coughlin to be their first head coach. In eight seasons at Jacksonville, Coughlin was at the helm of one of the most succesful expansion team’s in league history, making the playoffs four consecutive times and leading his team to the conference championships twice.

In 1999, Coughlin’s Jags had, at the time, the greatest record for an expanision team in NFL history, at 14-2. After winning 49 regular season games over his first five seasons as Jaguars head coach, his team went 19-29 over his final three years at its helm. He was fired by owner Wayne Weaver in 2002, who later said that one of his biggest regrets as team owner was letting Coughlin go.

In January 2004, Coughlin was hired by Wellington Mara to replace Jim Fassel as Giants head coach. That year New York traded up for the first pick in the draft, Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning.

The Giants would finish 6-10 in Coughlin’s first year as head coach of the club; most likely due to external pressures to bench veteran Kurt Warner in favor of the newly drafted and not yet ready Manning.

However, the next four seasons would produce different results, with the Giants making the playoffs four consecutive times. In 2007, a year after talented but flawed running back Tiki Barber retired from the game, New York won the Super Bowl, defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, and finally the previously 18-0 New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

The G-Men would go onto winning 12 games in 2008, but after failing to qualify for the playoffs the next two seasons (even though they finished 10-6 in 2010), Coughlin’s club hoisted their second Vince Lombardi Trophy in five years when they once again beat Tom Brady’s Pats in Super Bowl XLII.

After finishing atop the league in 2011, Coughlin’s team went on a four year playoff drought that ultimately culminated in the 12-year veteran stepping down as head coach of the New York Football Giants on Monday, January 4, 2015.

***

 

Shock. Confusion. Disbelief.

Even though it was rumored for weeks, those were my emotions, today, when Coughlin revealed, after a lengthy meeting with team owners, that his time with the Giants would be coming to a close.

“I met with John Mara and Steve Tisch this afternoon, and I informed them that it is in the best interest of the organization that I step down as head coach. I strongly believe the time is right for me and my family, and as I said, the Giants organization.”

My childhood revolved around watching a 60+ year old roam the sidelines with a look of disbelief plastered onto his face.

This news is going to take a little while to sink in.


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