Giants' Coughlin has been here before

Posted Dec. 25, 2010 @ 10:25 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Head coach Tom Coughlin might be a straight-laced man, but he seems to live on the edge when it comes to his coaching life. He has been on the chopping block, or close to it, at least three times as Giants coach, including just before his team's Super Bowl run and after last season's late collapse. The Giants' Week 15 loss to the Eagles ranks among the franchise's bigger disappointments in recent memory, considering the way it happened, as the team blew a 21-point lead in the final 8:23 of regulation.

Of course, it didn't help that word leaked out from Bill Cowher's camp just a few hours prior to the contest that the Giants were on his short list of desired coaching destinations. Cowher has expressed interest in the Giants as a possible landing place after being away from coaching for nearly four years. It has been said that Cowher wants to land with a team that has a franchise quarterback (Eli Manning would qualify) and a solid foundation to build around (the Giants have that, too).

But from what we hear, and partly based on owner John Mara's claims that the interest in Cowher was unfounded, Coughlin's job is not yet in jeopardy. The team will wait to see how the rest of the regular season — and the playoffs, if they qualify — plays out before making any major coaching decisions, and it might take a disaster for Coughlin to lose his job.

After all, Coughlin has rallied this team before. There's no better example than in '07, when the team entered the playoffs as a long shot and exited them as the champion. Although Steve Spagnuolo's defense often gets the credit for the team's run that year, team insiders have said that it would be wrong to underrate Coughlin's role in rallying the team and keeping it focused on turning the page from its previous disappointments.

Although the Giants have been surprisingly inconsistent at times this season, at their peak they have played like a team that could make a deep run in the postseason. It is far too soon to make any rash judgments about this team's status as things stand now, and that means Coughlin will remain in good standing until further notice. Some of his best coaching with the Giants has been with his, and his team's backs against the wall.