Monday, January 3, 2011

Should the Giants have kept Coughlin?

In a word: Yes. In more than one word: Only if they didn't think they could get Bill Cowher.

Tom Coughlin is not a bad football coach. He had four winning seasons in eight years with the expansion Jaguars and has four in seven seasons with the Giants, not including two 8-8 years. And while all the wins from his 4-3 playoff record in New York came during the Giants' 2007 Super Bowl run, he did win the big one on the biggest stage against one of the best teams in NFL history.

Coughlin is 133-107 in his 15-year career (.554 winning percentage) and his players still respond to him. The Giants could have collapsed in Week 17 after losing control of their own destiny for the NFC's second seed and then for a playoff spot, but they came out to play and if Chicago had beaten Green Bay, the Giants would be in and no one would be questioning Coughlin's job.

Granted you can look at the second half of the last two seasons and see noticeable collapses. But is the coach ALWAYS to blame when their team underperforms at the end of a season? This year the Giants were snakebitten by injuries and last season, well, there's really no excusing last season's stumble.

If New York fired Coughlin, who would they have hired that would've been an upgrade? The only name that comes to mind is Bill Cowher, who has been considering a return to coaching for years and would likely only come back to a team with an established quarterback. And as much as I hate Eli Manning, he is a capable NFL starter.

Cowher also is close with the Mara family and was supposedly in the running to be New York's next head coach before Coughlin won Super Bowl XLII. Former Steeler Jerome Bettis, who played under Cowher, even went as far as saying that Cowher would definitely be the next Giants coach whenever Coughlin is ousted.

But as long as Coughlin maintains the respect of his players and gets them to play hard for him every week he should remain the Giants' coach. This is especially true since they can wait on Cowher, who seems to be in no rush to return to the sidelines. After all, was it Coughlin who threw an NFL-high 25 interceptions this season? No, that was Manning.

Was it Coughlin who also led the league in fumbles with 17? No, that was due in large part to Ahmad Bradshaw and others. Sure, coaches can teach ball security and turnovers and penalties are generally a reflection of a lack of discipline, but watching this team on the field every week makes it hard to pin all of their issues on Coughlin.

About one-third of Manning's interceptions were dropped passes by his receivers and an offseason of work should teach Bradshaw how to protect the football after a breakout 2010 season.

All in all, I think the Giants were right to retain Coughlin. The NFC East will be tough again next season with Tony Romo returning to the Cowboys and possibly Michael Vick re-signing with the Eagles. Either way it looks to be a three-team race and one of the most difficult things to do in the NFL is maintain chemistry under a new coaching staff with a new philosophy.

In most other seasons, the Giants' 10-6 record gets them to the playoffs. Just not 2010. But that doesn't mean that Tom Coughlin shouldn't be back for 2011.


  1. Your so right man you said it best I just hate how the owner kind of bashed the Yankees saying he don't fire coaches like them.

  2. The Yankees have had how many managers in the past 15 years? I believe the number is 2...they should shut it.