After 12 seasons, Tom Coughlin stepped down as the head coach of the New York Giants yesterday. Coughlin made the playoffs five times with New York and won two Super Bowls, both of which came at the expense of the Patriots.
Bill Belichick, who has always voiced his respect for Coughlin, talked about the career the coach has had to this point.
"Tom’s had a great career as a head coach and as an assistant coach -- BC, Jacksonville, New York. He’s been a friend of mine for a long time," Belichick said.
"I have a lot of respect for Tom and his family, the way he approaches his job and the way he coaches. We had a great relationship at the Giants when we were on the same staff and have had good relationships throughout our respective careers. A lot for him to be proud of and unfortunately a couple of his biggest wins came at our expense. He deserves a lot of credit for all that he’s accomplished in his career."
Belichick and Coughlin were both on the Giants' coaching staff from 1988-90, when Belichick was the defensive coordinator and Coughlin was a wide receivers coach.
While Belichick has no current affiliation with the Giants, former and current Giants players have expressed sadness over the departure of their longtime coach.
Eli Manning, the quarterback who was drafted the same year Coughlin became head coach (2004) seemed to be taking Coughlin's departure pretty hard. In the video below, you can see Manning holding back tears as Coughlin tells him that he isn't the reason for his departure.
Justin Tuck, now with the Raiders, also posted a heartfelt message on his Facebook page about Coughlin, along with a picture of Coughlin interacting with Tuck and his young daughter when Tuck was still a member of the Giants.
The debate as to whether or not Coughlin is a Hall of Fame coach has already begun, and it likely won't end for a while. This much is certain - whether Patriots fans like to hear it or not, he won two Super Bowls against an incredibly tough opponent. That alone should give him at least some consideration for Canton, but that's not for me to decide.
If he never coaches again, then congratulations to you, Tom Coughlin, on a great coaching career. You've earned your day.
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