What’s Worse Losing Tom Coughlin Or Just Losing?

January 10, 2007 – 8:10 pm by McD

Editor’s note: McD’s views in this column are solely his own. They aren’t representative of Rumors and Rants or its staff. In fact, they may not even be representative of sanity at all. We’ll have to check on that.

Much to the surprise of, well, pretty much everyone in the football world, Tom Coughlin was not fired this week. Instead, the New York Giants of New Jersey are bringing him back for next year and extended his contract through 2008. Last week, everyone thought that Coughlin’s firing was as much of a mortal lock as Ohio State kicking Florida’s ass in a classic mismatch. All we have to say is “oops.” Actually, Coughlin should have been kept on as coach for another year. There’s two reasons. The first is that he’s not exactly the only guy responsible for everyone sucking. People like to blame coaches when things go badly, while giving the even more highly-paid players a pass. The second reason is that we complain when coaches who are good guys get fired from mediocre teams. Well, Coughlin isn’t a great guy or a great coach, but his team simply isn’t bad enough to be fired … well not yet anyway.

Tom Coughlin didn’t take one snap at quarterback or any other position this year for the Giants. It was his job to create team chemistry and a strategy for each game. While he’s never been a great chemistry guy, the players still have to execute the game plan. Let’s also not forget that the Giants aren’t exactly full of chemistry guys. Jeremy Shockey and Plaxico Burress have never exactly been solid locker room guys. It’s also been thrown around that the players were “tanking” a little bit this season because of Coughlin. They didn’t want to play for him anymore, people said. But if a team has players who won’t play simply for their own pride, then what does that say about the players themselves?

Let’s also not forget that “franchise quarterback” Eli Manning was awful this season. Manning is definitelt not Coughlin’s fault either. He’s the head coach, but the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coaches have a much more exclusive role in Manning’s development as a professional quarterback. It shouldn’t be surprising to see that Manning has struggled since the Giants hired a nobody as offensive coordinator and Kevin Gilbride (you may know him as the guy who oversaw Ryan Leaf’s development) as quarterbacks coach. Is it any surprise that Coughlin was immediately asked to make staff changes after getting his extension?

But despite all that, the Giants still managed an 8-8 season and made the playoffs. They also made the playoffs last year. A coach simply should not be fired following a season when his team makes the playoffs. If it’s a travesty that Mike Shula lost his job at Alabama for a mediocre season, then it would have been just as much of a travesty for Coughlin to be fired. Also, if the Giants fired him after this season, who would they hire that we know would do a better job? Pete Carroll isn’t going anywhere and he wasn’t ever a great pro coach to begin with. Bobby Petrino is gone to Atlanta. They’d have to go with some one’s offensive coordinator or an equally uninspiring choice. No one can convince me that the Giants would play any better for Cam Cameron than they would for Tom Coughlin.

A coach that makes the playoffs two straight years does not deserve to be fired. If things are the same through next year, then maybe things will be different. But he’s only been there three years and he’s made the playoffs twice. He’s also stuck with questionable, aging personnel and fans who expect perfection. What they got this year is pretty much a miracle considering who Tom Coughlin is and who was playing for him. Ask yourself, if he was a likeable guy, would everyone be asking for his job or would everyone be saying he deserves another chance?

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  1. 3 Responses to “What’s Worse Losing Tom Coughlin Or Just Losing?”

  2. It’s also been thrown around that the players were “tanking” a little bit this season because of Coughlin. They didn’t want to play for him anymore, people said. But if a team has players who won’t play simply for their own pride, then what does that say about the players themselves?

    I seem to remember people saying that the Giants quit on Jim Fassel at the end, too. Many of those same guys are still on the team. I’m just throwing that out there.

    By Your Friendly Neighborhood Brotzman on Jan 11, 2007

  3. Keeping Coughlin is the right move. His job is to put players in position to make plays, and several games this season were lost when players dropped interceptions, missed tackles and took stupid penalties. Those things are not Coughlin’s fault. See my post on this at http://valentinesviews.blogspot.com/2007/01/giants-keeping-coughlin-right-choice.html

    By Ed Valentine on Jan 11, 2007

  4. So you think it’s the “right move” for the Giants to keep a coach who:

    * Doesn’t have control of the team
    * Doesn’t have the players’ respect
    * Doesn’t adjust his game plan, ever
    * Acts like a lunatic on the sidelines after every call that doesn’t go his team’s way
    * Allows his players say whatever they want to the media

    Since Jim Fassel was hired, the players (headed by Strahan) have effectively run this team. Coughlin was hired as a “disciplinarian” to straighten out this ego-laden team, but he’s clearly not capable of that; in fact, he can’t even keep his own ego in check. It is solely his fault for having zero control over every aspect of this team, and he merely watches as they embarrass themselves and the franchise.

    Not only that, but potential GM candidates are passing on the Giants job because Tom will still be there. They deserve to have another sh!tty season with him.

    And to say he deserves to stay because “they made the playoffs” is a weak argument.

    (And yes, I’m a Giants fan.)

    P.S. You don’t think it’s the coaching staff’s fault that players continue to be flagged for late hit penalties?

    By Anonymous on Jan 12, 2007

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