Most franchises are on the prowl to find a Super Bowl winning coach, so when word came from the New York Giants in January that head coach Tom Coughlin had resigned, the story made sense. What team would sack a head coach who had taken the squad to the promised land, not once, but twice?
But as the weeks turn to months, the true narrative of the Coughlin-Giants continues to evolve, with Big Blue’s former head man disclosing more back room fodder during the “Mike and the Mad Dog” reunion show on Mar. 30th at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
“While Coughlin’s departure was announced as a resignation on Jan. 4, a day after the Giants finished their third straight losing season and fourth consecutive campaign without a playoff berth, he has made it quite clear he did not want to stop coaching the team. But the ‘decision’ was not up to the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach. Giants president and CEO John Mara has also more or less said publicly he told Coughlin, 69, the team was making a change,” according to NJ.com in a report posted on March 31, 2016.
The reunion show, featuring sports hosts Mike Francesa and Christopher Russo, was intended to be a charitable event, designed to raise money for the Garden of Dreams Foundation. The list of guests was New York sports royalty, as Coughlin shared the stage with former New York Rangers’ captain Mark Messier and New York Yankees’ manager Joe Torre, and the program was surely not thought of as a “hard-hitting” interview opportunity.
But with his termination fresh on his mind, Coughlin tried to put his best spin on the events as they have transpired, which has clearly changed the “one happy family” narrative being pushed by co-owner John Mara. When asked about the pathetic state of the New York Giants defense in 2015, and the mammoth shopping spree that the team has undertaken in free agency this off season, Coughlin had this to say, “What bothers me is, we know you’re not going to win a championship without great defense. You got to do something about that. It didn’t happen. And now it’s happening.”
Some in the media continue to portray Coughlin’s comments as “sour grapes,” including chatter that he bad mouthed the team in an interview with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after being let go. But as Darin Gantt of NBC’s Pro Football Talk wrote on March 31, 2016, “[Coughlin] has a valid point, as he wasn’t set up to succeed defensively the last few years, as General Manager Jerry Reese saved his chips until it was time for his own self-preservation move.”
Ironically, both Messier and Torre both had similar, bitter divorces from their New York teams as their careers wore down. Perhaps, this level of passion speaks to what makes competitors like Coughlin, Messier and Torre successful. What should be more concerning to Giants’ fans is the apparent lack of transparency in the way events are being portrayed in East Rutherford, as well as the inability to see things for what they are in the front office.