Giants Coach Can Cement Legacy With Two More Wins

January 20, 2012 By John Torenli, Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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He’s too strict, much too animated on the sidelines and his team suffers chronic second-half collapses.  

Put the above description in a $200 box on “Jeopardy” a month ago under the title “Current NFL Head Coaches,” and “Who is Tom Coughlin?” would be the most applicable response to Alex Trebeck from New York Giants fans.

After all, the Giants had failed to reach the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons due to inexplicable late-season meltdowns and appeared headed down the same path following a 23-10 loss to the mediocre-at-best Washington Redskins at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 18.

At 7-7, the Giants were on the verge of suffering their third straight non-playoff season and management would likely have shown the 65-year-old Coughlin the door after eight seasons in charge of Big Blue.

But something happened on the way to forced retirement for the former Boston College and Jacksonville Jaguars coach, who is known more for his blustery no-nonsense approach than his weekly media meandering.

The Giants caught fire in a rousing 29-14 victory over loudmouth Rex Ryan’s Jets, beat up on Dallas in the season finale to grab the NFC East crown and handled Atlanta during wildcard weekend.

Last Sunday’s epic 37-20 victory over the top-seeded Packers at Lambeau Field in the divisional round gave Coughlin’s crew the look of a team primed for another historic run.  

Remember, it was only four years ago that Coughlin’s fifth-seeded Giants rolled through Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay before a shocking 17-14 upset of 18-0 New England in Super Bowl XLII, arguably the greatest single victory in the history of the franchise.

The Giants will head into San Francisco this weekend (Sunday, 6:30 p.m. Fox-5) to battle the surprising 49ers for the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis next month.

If Coughlin succeeds in taking out Frisco and manages to beat either New England or Baltimore in the Super Bowl, he may just walk out of East Rutherford, N.J., on his own terms as a Hall of Fame-bound coach with as many Super Bowl titles as Bill Parcells.  

With two more wins, Coughlin will go from cranky old man to arguably the greatest coach in Giants history.

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