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Article:Coughlin's Contract - Maybe Not So Odd

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Just my opinion here, but I am intrigued by the reaction to Tom Coughlin getting a wonderful, $21 million contract from the New York Giants. Why are people so shocked? The guy coached his team to a Super Bowl victory over the unbeaten, double-digit favorite, "sure-thing-to-win" New England Patriots, didn't he?

What were people expecting? The Giants aren't Cincinnati, who retained the services of Sam Wyche and David Shula long beyond a timeframe most teams would have. They're not the Redskins or the Raiders, teams that can't say that their coaches will be retained beyond one season. They're not the Chargers, a team that fired their coach after a 14-2 season because the GM and the coach didn't talk to each other.

They're the Giants. Look at the coaches they've had. Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Jim Fassel, Tom Coughlin... all of these guys have success in common. They were classy guys who usually had the respect of their players. And, for the most part, they had the endorsement of the Mara family.

Of course, they made coaching changes when things weren't working out. But they never really acted rashly. Remember what happened with Fassel? He knew before the season ended that he would not be retained beyond the season. What did he do? He coached the entire season, honoring his contract. Even though Reeves is a class guy, even he didn't do that for the Falcons.

The sports radio shows were abuzz with Coughlin-mania. Pointing out that he was on the verge of being fired when the season began. ESPN said so as well. Both pointed out that the fans were calling for Coughlin's head after their first two losses.

I sincerely doubt that the Mara family paid any attention to this. You don't win Super Bowls and field a professional football team by bending to the whims of the fans. Sure they pay salaries and make it possible to operate. But in the end, the team is a business, and the folks running the show will do what they feel is best for the business.

In this case, that means retaining the head man and paying him elite coach money.

A similar case to this was the Steelers. Remember in 1998, 1999 and 2000, when the Steelers had three consecutive losing seasons? And Bill Cowher was allegedly going to be fired at any moment? Then, suddenly, the guy learned to coach again and the team went 15-1.

Well, people said, Cowher sure paid back the Rooneys for sticking with him. I don't think that's the whole truth. The Rooneys got a great deal from Cowher. He was one of the league's best coaches for 15 seasons. I would be shocked to learn that the Rooney's even considered firing him.

The Steelers have had three coaches in 38 years. And they've won five Super Bowls. I think the Giants know what the Steelers know. If you've got a good thing going... do what you have to do to keep it going. This is a lesson that a lot of teams could learn. And some have. Look at the Eagles. Andy Reid has been there for nine years and produced five first place finishes, an 88-56 regular season record and taken this hard luck team to the Super Bowl.

To all the teams that keep entering the coaching carousel, I say consider this refrain: Continuity is a good thing.

Originally Posted on southjersey-stillers-phillies.blogspot.com on March 7th.


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