Unlike other owners in the city, John Mara gets the benefit of the doubt. His careful and deliberate approach to making moves has been proven time and again the right way of doing business.
So it comes as no surprise, when he announced yesterday that both Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin would be returning. The team played better at the end of the season and frankly, with two Super Bowls under their belts, both men deserve another shot.
“Steve Tisch and I still feel very strongly about Tom Coughlin as our head coach,” Mara said. “That is why, as many of you have already reported, we have asked him back for next season. We still believe in him. I believe the players still feel very strongly about him and the one thing that struck me during the season, even as bad as things got during that seven-game losing streak, they still played hard for him. There was no lack of effort there. They were still very attentive during practice and on the sidelines and their effort never waned, even though the results were not what we had hoped for.”
It makes even more sense when you think about the alternatives. Back in 2004, when the Giants fired Jim Fassel, Coughlin was out there as a candidate. This year, there was no clearly defined candidate for the team to hire.
The Giants tend to take care of their own, therefore like candidates who have a history with the team. Coughlin coached under Bill Parcells in the 1980s and was considered a candidate for the job even before he was hired in 11 years ago. This year, though, there are not many Giant type of candidates out there.
Both John Fox and Sean Peyton have jobs while Bill Belechick is entrenched in Foxboro. Steve Spagnuolo was considered a failure during his stint in St. Louis and Bill Cohwer – always rumored to be a candidate given the relationship the Maras have with the Rooney family – likes his cushy TV gig too much.
So looking at the field, there’s not much of an upgrade from Coughlin.
Seriously, do you see the Giants hiring Rex Ryan or Jim Harbaugh? Of course not.
Coughlin is the Giants best chance of going back the Super Bowl next year.
“I still believe we can win with him,” Mara said. “If I didn’t believe that, then it wouldn’t have mattered how many Super Bowls he won in the past. It would be senseless to go forward with him. I look at how hard the players played for him and how attentive they still are. I look at his energy level and how much he still wants to win and how driven he is. That is what convinced Steve and myself to move forward with him. We have some talent deficiencies at certain positions. There is no question about that and that needs to be addressed and we will address that going forward.”
Now Coughlin is 68 and probably will only be on the sidelines for a few more years, but things change very quickly in the NFL. When he does retire – or get fired – Mara and Tisch will have a candidate in mind even before the announcement comes down the pike.
That’s the Giants way of doing things.
On Monday, you saw the Jet Circus in full action with Woody Johnson speaking out of turn about a player under contract.
Yesterday, you saw the proper way of announcing a disappointing season.
And that’s why Mara was right bringing back Coughlin and Reese for another season.