20 Million Dollars? Well worth It!
As a life long New York Jets fan, I have always suffered from an inferiority complex inflicted upon me by the New York Giants. My first few years of life took place in the Lawrence Taylor era and my earliest football memory is the Giants winning the Super Bowl in 1991. Since I’ve been alive, the Giants have played in 5 Super Bowls, winning 3 of them. The Jets have made it to three AFC Championship games, losing all of them but taking great pride in the fact that they made it as far as they did. As a result of my jealousy, I have always had a difficult time giving credit to the Giants. However, if there is one individual that is deserving of any accolades that may be thrown his way, it is Head Coach Tom Coughlin, and the Giants stepped up and finally took care of him yesterday.
Even though there has been rumors of Coughlin being fired almost every season he’s been a member of the Giants organization, he has always weathered the New York media storm. As recently as this past December, prior to the game against the Jets, the media was calling for his head if he was unable to lead the G men to the playoffs. Fast forward 6 games, including a Super Bowl victory later and Coach Coughlin is on a short list of the best coaches in the NFL. He has come a long way since being criticized by the likes of Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey and Michael Strahan for his militant demeanor. Coughlin has shown he contains the ability to adapt to an ever-changing league, and flat-out coach football players, putting his team in position to succeed year after year.
The Giants rewarded Coughlin with a three-year contract extension worth an additional $20 million on his current contract. Coughlin responded to the deal by saying “It has always been my belief that it is an honor and a privilege to be the head coach of the New York Giants, I’m thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families for their support and the recognition of what our players and coaches have accomplished. And I’m grateful for the working relationship Jerry Reese and I have. We’ve got a lot of work left to do.” In true Coughlin fashion, he ended the statement by saying that even though he has won 2 championships in the past 5 years, he will not get complacent, as he understands the demand of coaching in New York.
Coughlin is tied for 19th in regular season wins in NFL history. He has a career 142-114 regular season record, coupled with a 12-7 postseason mark. As all football fans know, not only did he win the Super Bowl in both 2007 and 2011, he did so in improbable fashion both years, as the Giants overcame obstacles that practically mirrored one another. If you ask most people who the best head coach in the league is, the answer would most likely be Bill Belichik. However, Coughlin seems to out coach him every time their teams matchup, including twice on the biggest stage. It is rare that any individual deserves 20 million dollars for any given profession, but in this case, I believe Coughlin has earned every penny the Giants are willing to give him.
Though many Jets fans enjoy Rex Ryan for what he is, we all understand that a major part of the attraction is his buffoonery. In every press conference, Ryan does everything he can to make the game about him, not the team. Ryan states that he brings all the attention onto himself to alleviate the pressure from his team, however it appears to me that Coach Ryan just plain loves being in the spotlight. Also, his foul language and propensity of flipping off fans at media sessions allows him to be popular with some sects of NFL fans, though it would be extremely difficult to find anyone willing to label him classy. Tom Coughlin is the polar opposite of Rex Ryan. Coughlin always carries a team first attitude, constantly stating that his team’s play is about the players, not him. Off the field, Coughlin has reached out to help others throughout his career. On May 23rd, Coughlin received the U.S. Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award for all of his work he has done in honoring veterans and active military members, including traveling to Afghanistan in the offseason a few years ago to pay his respects to our troops in person. In 1996, after Coughlin was introduced to a child with leukemia, and touched by his tragic passing, he started the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund to help support families with children who are suffering from leukemia and other types of cancer. Coughlin has helped to raise $5 million, and has touched the lives of over 1,000 families. When was the last feel good story anyone has heard involving Rex Ryan? No, satisfying men with foot fetishes by providing pornographic video of his wife does not count.
Coughlin has reached the pinnacle of his profession while so many others would have folded under the extreme pressure he has faced. He has outlasted all the players that have criticized and attempted to sabotage him in. He has the respect of his players, coaches, ownership and anybody affiliated with the NFL, and is an example of what every head coach should strive to be. With all that said, we all know that if the Giants get out to an 0-3 start this season, the “Fire Coughlin” chants will ring throughout Metlife Stadium. However, as he always does, Coach Coughlin will survive and eventually have the last laugh, even if his classy nature does not allow him to fully enjoy it.