Tom Coughlin’s career as the head coach for the Giants has been a strange and cyclical affair. Every November, the New York Sports Reporters Mafia begins questioning his longevity because the Giants get off to something like a 3-5 start and look hopeless. Then they will rattle off a few wins, make a few unreal plays, and suddenly they’re playoff contenders. Every few years, they’ll win the Super Bowl for good measure, and the mob backs off.
On Monday, the mafia finally got its man. In a dignified release on the team’s website, Coughlin announced he was stepping down as the head coach after 12 seasons and two Super Bowl rings.
The Giants’ season has been a disappointment to be sure: they went 6-10, missing the playoffs for the fourth straight season. How much of the blame lies at the feet of Coughlin is a point of contention. Their star defensive end blew up his hand in the off-season, their star wide receiver missed the year with a calf injury, and their starting tight end was lost in Week Eight. Perhaps it was one too many fourth-quarter implosions that finally did him in.
Two things are indisputable though: First, his players respected him as both a coach and a mentor. Second, he was a bottomless well of amusing soundbites.