Tom Coughlin's run as head coach of the New York Giants is now officially over.
Coughlin released a statement through the Giants announcing his resignation, but one has to wonder if it wasn't a mutual parting of the ways after four straight seasons missing the playoffs. Coughlin was the longest tenured head coach in Giants history, and was second all time in wins by a Giants head coach. He won two Super Bowls with Big Blue after changing his hard nosed ways, becoming a more open coach to his players.
While the relationship between Coughlin, his players, the media and fanbase was not always a perfect union, it was a relationship that grew stronger over the year. A majority of fans, who at one time wanted Coughlin fired, warmed up to him once they began to notice how hard this coach worked to get the Giants back to the top. Coughlin loved the Giants, and the Giants in turn loved having him as their coach.
Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch gave Coughlin plenty of latitude over the past four years after the franchise's second Super Bowl run under the head coach. However, losing seasons, poor play, and a shrinking talent pool became too much to overcome. Just this year alone, the Giants lost five games after holding a fourth quarter lead.
While Coughlin will take the brunt of the responsibility, the Giants decline the past few years is not all his fault. There is plenty of blame to go around, especially on GM Jerry Reese. Ironically Reese was not fired on Monday. Word is he will be a part of the Giants press conference on Tuesday, and it sounds like he will be safe for now. Big mistake, because Reese's mismanagement over personnel was a big reason for the Giants decline.
Is Coughlin done coaching? Rumors are he is not done. He wants to keep coaching, which makes one think that this resignation was more of a mutual parting of the ways rather than Coughlin deciding to not return on his own.
There are not a lot of good jobs out there for a 70-year old coach. The Browns, Eagles, 49ers, Dolphins, and Titans are also looking for coaches, and considering how rocky those franchises are right now, it would be unfair for Coughlin to finish his career in any one of these places. If Coughlin is smart he will indeed accept retirement and enjoy the fruits of his legacy.
Who will replace Coughlin? Sean Payton would be the ideal choice here. He is a younger version of Coughlin in a lot of ways. Like Coughlin, Payton is a Bill Parcels disciple; served as an assistant coach with the Giants, and turned a dead franchise down South into a winner. Payton already has a Super Bowl ring with the Saints, but he would be a no-brainer to bring to New York. The question is are the Giants willing to part with a top draft pick for him. The Saints are dangling a second rounder for their head coach.
The other name attached to the job is offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. Eli Manning enjoyed playing for McAdoo, but the numbers aren't there. McAdoo's offense lacked innovation, has echoed in an era of no running game, and Manning has been susceptible to hideous mistakes. Making McAdoo the head coach would be akin to promoting Ray Handley as head coach before the 1991 season. We all know how that worked out.
So to Tom Coughlin, thank you sir for a great 12 year run as head coach of New York's favorite football team. You did the city proud, nobody will ever forget that.