With a slight lull in the NFL offseason, the New York Daily News’ Gary Myers sparked an interesting debate: is New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin a Hall of Famer?
Myers says, as one of 46 members with a vote, Coughlin will be when his name finally appears on the ballot. But how many others feel the same way?
A spotty track record while with the Giants might be reason for concern, but here are the top five reasons Coughlin should be a Hall of Famer…
Three Super Bowl championships
A lot of people forget that Coughlin was also on Bill Parcells’ staff when the Giants beat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
There aren’t too many coaches with three Super Bowl rings who aren’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame—if any. Why should Coughlin be any different? Only three coaches have won two Super Bowls as head coaches and are not in the Hall of Fame (Tom Flores, George Seifert and Jimmy Johnson); Coughlin’s resume is more impressive than all of them.
One GIANT loss
Not enough could ever be said about the gameplan Tom Coughlin and his team took into Super Bowl XLII to upset the undefeated New England Patriots. The shut the Patriots’ record-setting offense down and, behind some miraculous moments, claimed the franchise’s third Super Bowl triumph.
The victory was the most impossible feat, yet Coughlin and company found a way to make it happen. And after the bumpy road they had faced during the regular season and the retirement of running back Tiki Barber, to march through the playoffs and cap it all off in such spectacular fashion is a major credit to Coughlin as a coach.
From expansion to contender
Despite inheriting a brand spanking new team as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Coughlin constructed a perennial contender that went to the AFC Championship Game in just its second season of existence.
The Jaguars made the playoffs in four of their five seasons under Coughlin, including a trip back to the AFC Championship Game in 1999. He left Jacksonville with three consecutive losing seasons but still managed to compile a record of 68-60 with four playoff appearances in eight seasons. That is very impressive for any team in its first eight years of existence.
For comparison, the Carolina Panthers have made just five playoff appearances since joining the NFL with the Jaguars in 1995. The Houston Texans, who debuted in 2002, have been the playoffs twice in 12 seasons.
Success despite glaring weaknesses
Though Coughlin coaches the New York-New Jersey area’s most popular football team, the Giants have scarcely featured what one would consider a complete team. There have always been major weaknesses throughout the roster that really should’ve garnered more attention during the offseason.
That has been evident in recent years, where the Giants have failed to make the playoffs in four of the last five seasons in part because of their apparent refusal to bolster the offensive line, linebacking corps and secondary. Still, the G-Men won the Super Bowl in 2011 after fielding one of the NFL’s worst defensive groups during the regular season, and had to depend on quarterback Eli Manning and the offense to complete seven fourth-quarter comebacks to sneak into the playoffs at 9-7.
Overall body of work
In 18 seasons as a head coach, Coughlin has only had six losing seasons. He has a win-loss record of 158-130 (.549 winning percentage) with a supremely more impressive playoff record of 12-7 with two Super Bowl wins.
Coughlin has adjusted his ways as a stern, zero tolerance-style coach to being a friendlier, locker room motivator with success throughout his tenure with the Giants. He helped cure Tiki Barber’s ailing fumble problems and overcame an 0-6 start this past season to bring the Giants within reach of a postseason berth.
Have there been moments when his ability has been questioned? Absolutely. There have been plenty since coming to New York. However, time and time again, he has found a way to get his team ready to play and overcome any and all obstacles. The Giants’ most recent Super Bowl seasons are the greatest examples of that. Neither year were the Giants the NFL’s best team during the season, yet they reigned supreme on the final Sunday that mattered. And that is why Tom Coughlin should be a Hall of Fame coach when he finally decides to call it quits—assuming he ever does.