Fontana: Tom Coughlin’s Super legacy as Giants’ head coach

Two Super Bowl victories is all one needs to remember about Tom Coughlin’s 12-year stint with the Giants. When you boil it down, that’s all a head coach’s job is.

Try not to dwell on the past three seasons that led to the 69-year-old Coughlin’s resignation on Monday. Pay no mind to the thought that, perhaps, this decision came a year too late.

For now, perish those thoughts, and take some time to reflect on the highs over the last dozen years — an eternity in today’s NFL head-coaching climate.

Seven of 32 franchises have multiple Super Bowl wins during the past 25 seasons. The Giants are one of them, and Coughlin helmed both victories. That’s as many as the great Bill Parcells, of whom Coughlin is a disciple, won here during his vaunted tenure.

Those championships are all the more impressive considering the path Coughlin’s Giants took to glory. The G-Men weren’t supposed to win. They failed to win more than 10 games in 2007 or 2011, well short of a first-round bye. As such, the Giants had to win three games just to reach The Big Game. Coughlin is the only coach in NFL history to win four games in a single postseason on two occasions.

Without world-beating status, those Giants teams owe a great deal of credit to Coughlin. The longtime Jaguars coach came to New York as a disciplinarian in 2004, but mellowed (somewhat) as necessary to motivate his championship teams. While neither the 2007 nor 2011 squads were without talent, they weren’t supposed to beat the mighty Patriots. Especially not in 2007, when New England entered the Super Bowl XLII on the cusp of the NFL’s first 19-0 season.

Coughlin’s Giants enjoyed other fine seasons, although none ended as well. Still, no team in the NFC East won more games between 2005 and 2012 — the best range of Coughlin’s Giants tenure. It was pretty sweet to be a Giants fan during that eight-year stretch.

With all that in mind, smile when you think of The Coughlin Era. Embrace the fact that, for more than a decade, the Giants were relevant — even champions — thanks to their now-former coach, who one day should join Parcells in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


The Giants were the second-winningest franchise in the NFC between 2005 and 2012, Coughlin’s most successful stretch with the team.