In each season that begins with the New York Giants playing poorly, fans and the media start the chants of “Fire Coughlin!”
This pattern has been ongoing since Tom Coughlin became the head coach of the Giants in 2004 and has continued through two Super Bowl seasons. Yet, Coughlin has proven that the criticism doesn’t faze him, but rather inspires him to get the most out of his squad.
Based on the way the 2013 season has started, there are those who are once again ready to jump on Coughlin and tarnish him for the Giants’ mediocre effort. While criticizing him might make the Giants play better, and it’s clear the Giants need every bit of luck they can get, history has shown that the fans shouldn’t give up on him.
In 2007, the New York Giants started the season 0-2 and the calls for Coughlin to be fired ensued. Every New York media outlet voiced the feelings of most Giant fans that were tired of seeing the same old disappointing Giants. Yet, a week after the team picked up their second loss, the Giants won six games in a row.
Of course, just like every other streak, it had to come to an end. The only problem was that the Giants’ win streak came to an end, and they became too inconsistent to be considered a real threat in the playoffs. Before the postseason started, many believed that it was time for Coughlin to go regardless of the outcome in the playoffs. No one believed that they would advance out of the first round as a wild card team, let alone win Super Bowl XLII.
Coughlin was the maestro of that magical playoff run. Without his inspirational locker room speeches and the constant pushing of his players to be the best they could be, the Giants would never have beaten the undefeated New England Patriots.
The same could be said for the 2011 season. The season started with the Giants winning six of their first eight games; but, after an inspiring victory over the Patriots in Week 9, the Giants went on to lose four straight games. Those losses put them in a position in which they had to battle to the last game of the season in order to make the playoffs.
Were the Giants intimidated by the daunting task ahead of them?
Of course not, because they followed Coughlin’s motto of “finish” until they won the Super Bowl. Each year, Coughlin uses one word to try to inspire his team to play at their best. That particular season, “finish” was the word he used to keep the troops motivated and hungry for glory. Clearly, his insistence on his team “finishing” games paid off with a second championship in four years.
Even though the team has changed since the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowls, Coughlin’s tactics have not. He still tries to preach similar themes and make his players believe in each other. Regardless what happens this week against the Kansas City Chiefs, no one should blame Coughlin for the faults of the Giants not only due to his past successes, but also because he has shown the fans how much emotion he has invested into the team.
It’s not his fault that the Giants’ offensive line is mixed with old and inexperienced players. It’s not his fault that the Giants refused to add depth to their secondary who, in 2012, gave up a combined 579 yards when facing the Baltimore Ravens and the Atlanta Falcons.
Just to put it in perspective, those two games were must-wins for the Giants if they wanted a chance to make the playoffs.
The reality is that Coughlin can only work with what he’s given. During their most recent breathtaking Super Bowl runs, the Giants might have not been the best team on paper, but they had depth. The truth about the 2013 Giants is they don’t have the depth that they’ve had in the past.
If fans want to blame anyone, it’s GM Jerry Reese, who made little effort during the offseason to give the team the depth they desperately needed after a disappointing finish to the 2012 campaign.