During last night’s postgame segment with Bob Costas on NBC, I mentioned that Giants coach Tom Coughlin is under contract for only one more year, a critical factor to consider when assessing whether the Giants will be contemplating a potential coaching change after the 2010 season.
As I was packing up my things this morning at the Motel 6 in Manhattan, I heard ESPN’s Adam Schefter explaining that Coughlin’s contract has not one but two years remaining, a critical distinction.
Media reports from early 2008 indicated that Coughlin had signed a four-year deal, not a four-year extension. Based on those reports, he is under contract through 2011.
Schefter now reports that Coughlin’s deal applies through 2012 — February of 2012. As a result, Coughlin is indeed under contract for only one more year.
Schefter also reports that Coughlin’s compensation drops by $750,000 in 2011, making an up-or-out decision from the Giants even more likely after the current season ends.
That said, we think the decision will be “up” if the team qualifies for the postseason, which will happen if they beat the Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field. It would be the fifth time in seven years that the Giants have advanced to the playoffs under Coughlin, and it would merit an eighth year on the job, likely with a contract extension.
If they don’t make it to the playoffs, the decision could very well be “out.”
But there’s no guarantee that Cowher then would be in. On Sunday, co-owner John Mara dismissed an ESPN report that Cowher is targeting the Giants.
“That’s ridiculous. That is ridiculous,” Mara said, per the New York Daily News. “Are we down to that? We were writing Bill Cowher stories two months ago and now we are going to write them again. That’s ridiculous.”
Frankly, we wouldn’t expect any other reaction with the Giants still alive for the playoffs and with a coach currently under contract. But it was Mara’s reaction to a failed 2009 season that prompted intense speculation that Coughlin would once again be coaching for his job in 2010.
“I’m disappointed at everything. I’m unhappy at everybody. It’s just not acceptable to perform like that,” Mara said after the Giants’ 2009 campaign ended without a trip to the postseason. “I’m less than 24 hours after the end of the season, so I’m sure I’ll cool down at some point and try to make intelligent decisions going forward. But obviously I’m not very happy right now. And they know that.”
If the Giants fail once again to qualify for the playoffs, especially after Sunday’s Monstrosity in the Meadowlands, Mara will be unhappy again. And with a head coach who is signed for only one more year, Mara may do much more than talk.