During a spot last week on NFL Network, former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce said that coach Tom Coughlin has landed back on the hot seat, three years after winning a Super Bowl. While Coughlin didn’t specifically admit that the flames are fanning his fanny, he generally observed that every NFL coach now operates on a year-to-year basis.
“I don’t know what he said or why he said it or what his intent was by
any means,” Coughlin said regarding Pierce’s remarks, according to Mike Garafolo of the Newark Star-Ledger. “But it’s a one-year circumstance for everybody. I don’t care
if you just won the Super Bowl. You’re expected to come right back and
perform at the highest level. And of course, in this market, you’re
always going to be subject to that kind of scrutiny. My goals, my
expectations, what I demand of myself, what I demand of our team, really
is internally driven and has nothing to do with outside.”
When I interviewed Browns coach Eric Mangini last week for our season preview magazine (have I mentioned that we’re doing a season preview magazine?), he offered a similar observation regarding the question of whether new team president Mike Holmgren views Mangini’s second year on the job as a one-year proposition. “Mike has never given me the sense that it’s a one-year situation, but I think what I’m learning more and more is each year’s a one-year situation, regardless of the contract,” Mangini said. “You’ve got to continually make strides.”
For Coughlin, it’s more than the usual “Not For Long” formula. He has two years remaining on his contract, he’ll be 64 when the season begins, the Giants will christen a new stadium this year, and the team with which they share it has surpassed the Giants in both on-field success and off-field hype. After the 2009 season ends with the Giants not in the playoffs, co-owner John Mara declared that the “status quo . . . is not acceptable.” When the 2010 ends, the Giants will have to decide what to do about Coughlin, who’ll be entering his lame-duck season.
With Bill Cowher still available and Jerome Bettis convinced Cowher wants the Giants job, we think that anything short of a playoff appearance, and maybe a win or two, will result in the Giants reclaiming the hype by snagging the guy who snubbed the Jets in early 2009.