Week 17 Morning Aftermath: Giants should consider firing Coughlin

Two years ago, Giants coach Tom Coughlin widely was believed to be in grave danger (is there another kind?) of being fired.

So Coughlin underwent a stunning late-career transformation, and his new approach helped the team dig out of an 0-2 start (during which they gave up 80 points), culminating in an unlikely Super Bowl win.

Two years later, Coughlin and the Giants have put together precisely the kind of season that would have gotten him fired in 2007.

And with Coughlin, 63, having only two years left on his contract, the Giants have to look at the team’s late-season meltdown, featuring a Week 17 game in which it appeared that they weren’t even trying to keep it close, and the Giants have to decide whether now is the time to make a change.

Maybe, at the end of the day, the Giants decide to stand pat.  But regardless of whether the team’s collapse from 5-0 to 8-8 can be blamed on poor offensive line play, a rash of injuries (which Coughlin famously called a “cancer” when he was hired), or the subpar performance of Bill Sheridan, the man Coughlin hired to replace defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Coughlin ultimately is responsible.

The question of whether Coughlin stays, as we pointed out in last week’s SportingNews.com 10-pack, should be considered in conjunction with the broader issue of succession.

Coughlin will be 65 when his contract expires.  Will he be given an extension?  Or will he coach out the final two years of his contract and then leave? 

A critical factor in this regard will be the quality of the potential replacement candidates.  And so the Giants will have to look at who they think they could get now, who they think they could get in 2011, and who they think they could get in 2012.

Given the lethargic manner in which Coughlin helped the franchise close down Giants Stadium, the team also should consider whether the occasion of moving into a new house brings with it the necessity of hiring a new coach.

Regardless of whether he comes back or doesn’t, the Giants would be foolish to give Coughlin a pass simply because he won a Super Bowl two years ago. 

In NFL terms, that might as well have been two decades ago.

46 responses to “Week 17 Morning Aftermath: Giants should consider firing Coughlin

  1. Florio I’m starting to think you’re just like all the other average fans who visit here. If it was up to you and them, 80% of coaches would get fired every year.

  2. I agree with this move. Coughlin is consistently above average and was very lucky (use your head) to manage to win a SB. That won’t work in NY with the mortgage they are getting ready to have.

  3. The real test will be how Reese fares in the off season since the team needs help in a lot of areas. But at the very least Sheridan has to take a hit.

  4. Coughlin’s Record WITHOUT Spagnuolo
    2004 6-10
    2005 11-5 – 1 Playoff loss
    2006 8-8 – 1 Playoff loss
    2009 8-8
    Total 33-33
    Coughlin’s Record WITH Spagnuolo
    2007 10-6 + 4 Playoff wins
    2008 12-4 – 1 Playoff loss
    Total 26-11
    Numbers don’t lie!

  5. Damn straight Florio!
    I can live with Coughlin for another season, but Sheridan needs to go ASAP! Canning Coughlin wouldn’t be a bad idea either, outside of one good year (with a ton of luck), the Giants have been generally bad. Without Spagnuolo, Coughlin is a .500 coach in NY with 0 playoff wins.

  6. Coughlin’s record with Spagnuolo (including playoffs): 26-11
    Coughlin’s record without Spagnuolo (including playoffs): 33-33
    Sounds like mediocrity to me. Fire him now.

  7. Coughlin must go! The old guy hasn’t kept pace with today’s game. He has only hired one competent coordinator during his time with the Giants. Also, he stubbornly plays older, slower players over younger talent with speed.

  8. Florio,
    You are an idiot. Coughlin won a Super Bowl against the greatest team in NFL history. His team was a #1 seed last year in the NFC. His top player shoots himself in the leg that year and is in jail currently. They start 5-0 this year with an obviously attrocious defense. The wheels fell off but they were not a good team when they were 5-0. Look at their opponents. So in the last three years he wins a super bowl, leads his team to a #1 seed in the NFC and goes 8-8. Yeah, fire his arse. He must not be cordial enough to you in press conferences huh Mikey?

  9. Good thing you can just shoot off about who should be deprived of a job, with your influence with the hiring committee, and the Fritz Pollard Alliance.
    That’s some good old yellow journalism there Mike.

  10. I agree Mike. I like TC, but it’s time for him to retire. Move down to FL and spend time with the grandchildren.
    He has completely lost touch with this team. Actually said he thought they were ready to play to win the last 2 weeks.
    One of the greatest franchises in NFL history located in the hub of the entire universe deserves better. Plus the table needs to be set properly before christening the new stadium.
    WARNING! If this team continues allowing 40+ points a game and losing by 30 points a game next year TC is going to be run out of this city.

  11. I guess the 2010 mantra for PFT is FIRE EVERY COACH. First McDummy (best nickname for that guy ever) and now Coughlin.
    What about Tomlin? What about Cable? Singletary? Fisher? That mobster guy in Miami?
    THIS JUST IN: the way the league works is that SOME TEAMS WIN and, thus, SOME TEAMS LOSE.

  12. Wow. And by that, I just mean wow.
    No major fan of Big Blue, but that piece is a tad harsh on Coughlin, a tad one-sided. It casts everything that could possibly be perceived as negative in the harshest possible light … and minimizes everything good Coughlin ever done. It comes off as very one-sided, very agenda driven, and falls far short of appearing fair.
    Yeah, the G-Men laid an egg yesterday in a meaningless game …. but does that mean it should ALL fall on Coughlin’s shoulders?
    I gotta go to work now, but let’s leave at this: your piece on Coughlin is far from fair-sided, and is thus, disappointing. This is one reader who does NOT blame Coughlin, and you presented no evidence to make me re-consider.

  13. Old TC had his day… and it paid off with a Superbowl. But his time is done. NFL head coaching is increasingly a young man’s game. He should move upstairs… finish out his career in style… and help bring in a new regime. At the very least several assistants need to go and a ‘head coach in waiting’ needs to be hired.
    Injuries played a role, but in the end it was attitude that finished off this team. And that’s bad coaching. Sorry Tom… it’s been a great ride, but it’s over.

  14. 5 Giants games against four 5-9 or worse teams all with poor offenses
    Washington Redskins(4-12) 17
    Washington Redskins(4-12) 12
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers(3-13) 0
    Kansas City Chiefs(4-12) 16
    Oakland Raiders(5-11) 7
    Coughlin/Sheridan’s Giants defense allowed 52 points or an average of 10 points per game
    ==
    BUT against .500 or better teams in the other 11 games
    Dallas Cowboys 31
    New Orleans Saints 48
    Arizona Cardinals 24
    Philadelphia Eagles 40
    San Diego Chargers 21
    Atlanta Falcons 31
    Denver Broncos 26
    Dallas Cowboys 24
    Philadelphia Eagles 45
    Carolina Panthers 41
    Minnesota Vikings 44
    Coughlin/Sheridan’s Giants defense allowed 375 points or an average of 34 points per game
    These numbers don’t lie either

  15. when will the competition comittee look into the giants for laying down and giving the 2nd seed to the vikings? because of the lack of effort, it created a meaningless game in arizona….i know my point is absurd, but so is arguing that teams should have to play starters.

  16. @Bob S.
    Your right, the numbers do not lie. Time for Tom C to go. Maybe the gmen should go after Bill Cowher.

  17. To all the brainiacs talking about Coughlin being 33-33 without Spagnola. I noticed Spags was 1-15 as a head coach, but no one is calling for him to be fired.

  18. Personally, I’d like to see Sheridan go, although I doubt the Giants will fire him, because they are not the kind of organization that is quick to hand out pink slips after a single season.
    Having won the Super Bowl has likely earned Coughlin enough immunity for possibly 2 more seasons like this one.

  19. Florio, Coughlin will not be fired. He is 2 years removed from winning a SB. His team went .500 this year. IT HAPPENS. Make some changes in the offseason and go out and win next year. And get rid of your immediate gratification mentality.

  20. Every article and no matter what i google, all evidence is poitning towards sheridan staying. That is an absolute travesty. Granted, there were times this yr he had so many injuries that about 75% of their starters werent in, and it isnt his fault his guys cant tackle, only so much you can teach a pro on how to tackle. Barry cofield made a good pt, rookies get leeway, why shouldnt coaches? although rookies come in wet behind the ears, coaches especially coordinators get hired based on experience and getting the job done. the giants werent a team that needed retooling. A lot of the time his schemes were awful, soft prevents, giving up 20 yards at a time when protecting leads. They had SD beat and he went into some weird prevent allowing them to score to end the game, it pretty much ended their season. He never dialed up a blitz, he had canty, boley and tuck dropping back in coverage numerous times, it was a disaster and I know coughlin is loyal to his guys, if he keeps him on board maybe reese needs to bring in a whole new staff, someone like cowher who wont put up with Osi and who will get in jacobs face for dropping short passes.

  21. slutnuts says:
    January 4, 2010 9:36 AM
    when will the competition comittee look into the giants for laying down and giving the 2nd seed to the vikings? because of the lack of effort,

    they have been lying down at least the defense for quite a while now- i think right from when coughlin put his friend sheridan in that D-C position. osi immediately then walked out.
    coughlin defended sheridan all year long and refused to fire him. even when he promoted sheridan to take spag’s old job, sheridan with just 4 years pro asst coaching experience, none ever as d-c , and sheridan was giants linebackers coach which was their weakest area for years – AND EVEN THOUGH on the giants staff and he still is there was a competant person who could have been justifiably promoted to D-C – Peter Giunta who was the D-C of the St. Louis Rams excellent defense when they won the Super Bowl under Vermeil.
    But Coughlin put his incompetant friend Sheridan in that job and refused to fire him when it still possibly could have saved the season. Like Norv Turner did last season firing Cottrell at bye break and hiring Rivera for that job.

  22. You shouldn’t fire a head coach after one bad year… so close from your Super Bowl win. That’s just too reactionary.
    You simply cannot run a business like that. That’s like firing the salesman that saved the company the entire fiscal year because he had one lousy month. Or firing your CFO because your company didn’t perform well one fiscal year- even though the guy did extremely well the last two years.
    This is mere fan-speak. I’m pretty confident that business-minded professionals work for the Giants organization.

  23. Absolutely fire him and ask the Eagles permission to talk to Andy Reid. After that debacle in Dallas yesterday the Eagles should pay Reid’s salary for someone to take him, new contract and all. How, with the 2nd seed, a bye week and at least one game with home field advantage, could that team not have shown up for the game. They were not just out-played, they were OUT-COACHED !!
    Bill Cowher would not have tolerated that performance, but on the sidelines Andy looked like he was lost.

  24. A good offence can make any defence look better. Some nerd run the pre-post Plaxico numbers.
    Or maybe the pre-post plantar facietist (sp) number.
    Remember the Vikes pre-Favre. This is a quarterback driven league regardless of coach.
    Indy has a place setter for a head coach yet should be undefeated thanks the offensive coordinator and QB.
    If a coach can win once in this league he can go undefeated in same league, just get him the right players and coordinators.

  25. Giants ended the season on a 3-8 run
    Giants ended last season on a 1-4 run
    Which is a combined 4-12 finish if you look at both years from when collapse started
    AND
    This season 5 of the Giants 8 wins were against 5-11 or worse teams

  26. Wow. So as a coach you stave off superbowl hangover and win the division 12-4 and now you have a team decimated by injuries (including the starting RB and OL) and now we need a new coach. Come on people. It’s funny to hear people talk about John fox and Bill Cowher. Bill Cowher’s last season with Pittsburgh was 8-8 and John Fox has never put 2 winning seasons together. Also while we’re talking about stats, let’s look at one for Cowher’s term in Pittsburgh:
    W-L
    1998: 7-9
    1999: 6-10
    2000: 9-7
    Somehow he kept his job during this stretch and it paid off. Also, Spags finished the season 1-3 last year. Maybe, he got out while the getting was good. When he’s had bad coordinators, he doesn’t hesitate to get rid of them and bring in talent. He’ll right the ship.

  27. tian says:
    You shouldn’t fire a head coach after one bad year… so close from your Super Bowl win.

    2 years after.
    same giants fired fassell 3 years after being in the super bowl after missing the playoffs once after that super bowl appearance

  28. Also, did anybody consider that alot of Cowher’s wins came against competely incompetent clubs like the Bengals and the Browns year after year?

  29. Tom Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL. The man has taken two different teams (not one, two) to Conference Championships and this very Giants team to a Super Bowl victory over the unthinkable. Coach Coughlin has done what he has always done and improved the Giants passing game in short order. The man deserves another opportunity to get the running game and defense back on track.
    The coaches that should be on the hotseat are the ones who made glaring mistakes. Such as Gary Kubiak and John Fox. Now these two coaches had lighting in a bottle right under their very noses and elected to go with the trash playing ahead of them…Kubiak in not going with Arian Foster until the last two games of the season…and Fox in doing virtually the same thing with Matt Moore.
    These two coaches have stood by and watched all year long as their one-sided offenses could have been two-sided offenses with one simple and obvious player change. The failure to make these moves cost both teams a playoff appearance. Now that is relevant…

  30. Bob S, are you accountant? Math Teacher? I love your posts, you are always on points with the numbers and stats.

  31. No way Coughlin gets fired. Maybe the DC, but not Coughlin. Their offense was solid even without Plaxico, but with almost the same defensive squad they were bad, real bad. Thats the DC’s problem, and his job may be lost. Expect a change their. But not Coughlin, no way no how.

  32. The Super Bowl play wasn’t “lucky,” Hap. It was simply a GREAT play at both ends of it.
    If every great play in the NFL was due to luck–all we would have is a bunch of lucky guys running around in pads.
    The Giants beat the Patriots in SB 42 because they were BETTER THAN THEM on THAT DAY. Deal with it.

  33. You can usually tell from the article headline who wrote the article. If it says “fired” or if it includes any type of bashing, then it’s usually florio. If not, it is often one of the other guys.
    What does that tell you?

  34. Maybe I’m just the only person thinking this, but wouldnt Bill Cowher consider an alliance with Jerry Reese. The Giants have the money to spend and enough talent for him to turn the franchise around quickly. As a Bucs fan who watched the players stop drinking Jon Gruden’s coolaid in Tampa, maybe the same has happened in NY. You have to be concered about players who arent playing hard for their coaches.

  35. The downfall of this site is that Florio is trying to parlay his excellent rumor cultivating skills (which brought me here back in the days when it had the old name) to trying to ANALYZE pro football. The guy is a lawyer. If a site would come along that would do what this site did 5 years ago, I wouldn’t even come back here. As it is now, I have to sift through this junk to get to the stuff I used to come here for.

  36. Why is his age a factor? Is someone saying he lacks energy or is lazy? Coughlin has earned a year’s “benefit of doubt”, in my opinion. I thought he should have been fired prior to the Super Bowl season for being incredibly negative and disparaging of his players in public. He managed to make a fundamental change and reinvent himself with positive results. He made the playoffs the following year. This year was a huge disappointment, but does not merit dismissal. One more year.

  37. I don’t think it’s time to fire Coughlin at all. If anything, this will make them pull some serious rabbits out of whatever hats they can find around the new stadium. At least Phil Simms thought late in the season that the G-men had “championship caliber” talent in a lot of positions, and I would agree despite the glaring holes. And there are glaring holes.
    I think the Giant collapse is a combiniation of things, but primarily due to an atrocious defense that lost key players (Pierce, late, the defensive backfield early, Osi largely a no-show) that got consistently shredded in ways I’ve never seen a Giants “D” get shredded.
    Lousy “D” means the G-men were often playing from behind, which means that they are more reluctant to run, which makes them more one dimensional, which puts more pressure on Eli.
    Impossible to win consistently with a team and a team psychology that prefers to pound the ball via the run and plays best with a lead – especially since that seems to be the way the team was built.
    So fire Coughlin? No. Draft a bunch of defensive backs, and take a loooooong look at Sheridan. Any scheme that has Tuck and other D linemen dropping back into coverage more than occasionally is, to me, really suspect…

  38. First off as a life long G fan I have to say not big TC fan but he can stay the mistake was made when the did not give Spags the coach in waiting job
    If Spags had stayed I doubt the egurls would be playing any place next week
    Find a new DC and a coach in waiting
    This is one of the all time top teams in the NFL one of the most stable teams
    Gruden or Chucky someone find our next coach now

  39. Fire Coughlin ?? Florio you must be drinking on the job again. Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the NFL and he has one bad year and you want to fire him ?? I live in Jacksonville and boy let me tell you there are a bunch of people here who wish he was still the coach of the Jaguars. He built this team from scratch and made the Jaguars the most successful expansion team in the history of sports, ALL SPORTS !! What do you think will be accomplished by firing Coughlin ?? If any coach needs to be fired it is the DC. Then after next season things have not turned around make that move, Not now just because some overpaid sports hack reporter says so.

  40. Last year I hoped they would open up their wallets for Spags and name him the next head coach, once Coughlin retires (a la Jim Mora and Jim Caldwell). So much for that.

  41. mara made the call and they canned sheridan.
    i’d keep coughlin and ditch the rooney rule. flowerio just wants another rooney rule hire.

  42. Mike Florio, this is about as rediculous as your suggestion that Rex Ryan would be fired when the jets were 4-6. Why dont we just fire every coach after a bad year.

  43. Must be running out of material to write, your obviously just looking for a reaction. Reminder everyone who wants to compare Coughlin with Spags vs without, you forget it was Tom Coughlin that gave Steve his first Defensive Coordinator job, even before hiring Spags he stated he wanted to have a scheme where his best players play.(meaning he had the idea of playing all the defensive ends including at one point putting Mathias Kiwanuka at LB) I am not denying the fact that Spags brought it all together and was very good Coordinator, but just remember Coughlin targeted the Eagles scheme with the idea of utilizing the entire talent on the team. Also Cowher won 1 superbowl in 12 years? Coughlin did it in year 4… Also how many coaches won a super bowl with 2 different teams?

  44. Florio!!! Consider this scenario; Giants realize that Coughlin served them well but like any other player or exec in the NFL cog, you will eventually get chewed up. The giants should let the 63 year old Coughlin go and bring in Cower. Cower wants to cement his legacy and will go all out to win a title in the biggest market in the world and which also resides in the NFC ( to not upset his cred in pittsburgh )

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