After 12 years at the helm, Tom Coughlin decided to step down as the Giants head coach on Monday, sparking a much needed change in East Rutherford.
By Jeff Weisinger
When we look back at the overall career of now former Giants’ Head Coach Tom Coughlin – whether he coaches again in 2016 and beyond or not – we will see the credentials of a Hall of Fame NFL coach.
Twenty years manning the sidelines, 170-150 overall record, 19 playoff appearances with a 12-7 record, two underdog Super Bowl wins against two dominant (one undefeated) New England Patriots teams, and he helped guide a quarterback from being just the little brother of a future Hall-of-Famer, to a potential Hall-of-Famer himself.
However after the last four seasons since Big Blue’s last Super Bowl run and playoff appearance, Coughlin’s exit couldn’t have come at a better time — the Giants will talk about it in a news conference Tuesday morning at 10:30 a.m.
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 5, 2016
Coughlin announced his resignation on Monday, ending a 12-year tenure as the head coach of the New York Giants. In his 12 years, he led the Giants to five playoff appearances, four in a row, with two Super Bowl wins. Overall, he was 102-90 as the Giants’ head coach.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as head coach of the New York Football Giants,” Coughlin said in a statement Monday. “This is not a sad occasion for me. I have spent 15 years with this organization as an assistant and head coach and was fortunate to be part of three Super Bowl-winning teams. A Lombardi Trophy every five years is an achievement in which we all take great pride.”
Tom Coughlin was an assistant on a Giants’ team led by Bill Parcells from 1988-1990 before taking the head coaching job in 2004 after a nine-year stint as the first head coach in the history of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
— New York Giants (@Giants) January 4, 2016
However the last four seasons have been nothing but a disappointment. The 2015 campaign marked the fourth-straight season that the Giants missed the playoffs and their third straight losing season—the first time they’ve reached such a feat since they suffered through eight straight losing seasons from 1973-1980. Coughlin’s discipline and strict coaching ways were almost nowhere to be found as the Giants opened the season blowing leads in the final minute of the first two games, followed by games where the Giants picked the wrong time to come out flat, which was followed by his mishandling of the Odell Beckham Jr. tantrum in Week 15 against Carolina.
Coughlin entered his tenure with the Giants as a disciplinarian and an “old-school” coach using ways that scared off many of the Giants vets, most notably Michael Strahan. Coughlin softened up a bit in 2007 and, as fate would have it, they not only won their first Super Bowl in 16 years, they beat a Pats team that was eyeing the NFL’s first undefeated, 19-0 season. The biggest thing to note that year was when Coughlin cancelled practice one training camp day and took his team bowling.
The fun, softer Coughlin was successful, however since 2007, Coughlin lost that field commander attitude he had in Jacksonville and became too soft, eventually leading to his departure and four straight years without a playoff appearance.
Yet, Coughlin isn’t the only one to blame for the team’s disappointing performance after the 2011 Super Bowl run.
Poor execution and a lack of quality draft picks are starting to hurt the Giants; re-signing a now 35-year old quarterback to a four-year contract extension without a dominant offensive line and without a full complement of legitimate weapons also hurts. That part falls on general manager Jerry Reese, who now needs to scramble to get things in order for 2016, or he could, and should, be next on the chopping block.
Of the 46 active players for the New York Giants in their season-finale loss to Philly on Sunday, just 14 were drafted by Reese, whose been the general manager since 2007. If there’s going to be any blame handed down, don’t just stop at the head coach.
Reuben Randle has been decent at best, Reese decided to cut James Jones in favor of Corey Washington and Preston Parker, both of whom were cut during the regular season (by the way, Jones only had 15 catches for 187 yards in a solid preseason) and has yet to find a legitimate tight end for Manning to throw to.
And let’s not get started on the defense – the worst in the league, the worst in any league.
The Giants are still in the idle of a roster rebuild and Reese has done as bad a job fixing this team as the NYC DOT has done fixing the streets of New York City.
Unfortunately for Big Blue Nation and luckily for Reese, is the fact that the Mara family doesn’t just fire GMs and are extremely loyal to their own people. That’s why they kept Reese and allowed Coughlin to bow out on his own – classy.
The players themselves deserve as much heat as Coughlin and Reese do. When it came time for the Giants to be clutch, instead of stepping up to the challenge, they fell flat on their face
“We didn’t get the job done,” Manning said to the media Monday. “It’s been a good run, it could’ve been better.”
Over the coming days, we will read about what the Giants need to fix. They need to fix almost everything.
We’ll also read about who’s to blame for the team’s failure in 2015. Everyone is to blame.
The Giants don’t need to point the finger at one person or another. Instead, they need to look in the mirror if they’re going to fix things for 2016.