Sep 15, 2013; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin reacts to a Giants fumble against the Denver Broncos during the second quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Don’t bother referencing the two Super Bowl championship as an argument. The fingers will simply go in the ears and loud humming will start. If there is any truth to the NFL it’s results are not about the past but the present. The New York Giants are proving they’re a bad football team, and it’s because of Tom Coughlin.
NFL record of past seasons prove Coughlin teams are declining
To get the argument out of the way, yes, it is taken into account that Tom Coughlin has won two championships for the New York Giants franchise, but it’s also important to take certain facts into account. The most important is record. The year Coughlin got his contract extended in 2008, the Giants went 12-4. Since that time they have gone 10-6, 8-8, 9-7, and 9-7. In that span they made the playoffs once in 2011 and happened to ride the momentum to a title. That doesn’t discount the gradual decline in both the quality of the personnel and the effectiveness of the coaching. Back-to-back seasons with 9-7 records has been followed by the ugliest start of the Coughlin era in which his team is 0-3 and coming off a 38-0 drubbing from the Carolina Panthers. New York not only looked bad, it looked uninspired. None of the young players have stepped up. Injuries have taken their toll. This isn’t like the Giants teams of the early Coughlin era, dysfunctional at times but able to take it to another level when needed.
Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul getting little help from others
The real glaring problem is the lagging ability to replace roster losses. Since 2011, Eli Manning has lost a bevy of solid players including Mario Manningham, Ahmad Bradshaw and Martellus Bennett. On the other side Jason Pierre-Paul has watched a once powerful defense slip into mediocrity with problems from the defensive line to the linebackers and secondary. Not every issue can be blamed on injuries either. The way they’ve played speaks to either a lack of talent or a lack of motivation. Both those issues tie directly to Coughlin. He has a hand in the players selected and he is in charge of getting them ready to play. To put it in perspective he’s had a two-time Super Bowl MVP as his quarterback for nine seasons and has won more than ten games just twice.
Tom Coughlin deserves tons of credit for his past success, perhaps enough to warrant a Hall of Fame induction. However, his recent trend suggests the New York Giants players have begun to grow tired of his coaching style and him. It can happen after nine seasons. If the skid continues, perhaps the time is right to put him out to pasture like Philadelphia did with Andy Reid.