Tom Coughlin’s contract doesn’t expire until after the 2015 season, so we should have a few months or so to go before the Giants’ head coach position becomes an issue again. Typically, NFL teams don’t like their coaches to enter a season on the last year of their contract, so a lot of extensions happen prior to those contracts expiring.
The performance of the Giants this season will do a lot to determine how the Giants feel about Coughlin going forward, so naturally, discussing the coach’s job should be put on hold until January at the earliest.
That’s not the case, though, as a recent New York Post interview with Giants co-owner John Mara has thrust the relationship between Coughlin and the team into the spotlight prematurely. With two Super Bowl championships under his belt, there are some who believe that Coughlin deserves the right to choose when he stops coaching the Giants.
There are others who believe that Coughlin’s failure to make the playoffs in the past two seasons show he is a coach on the decline and should be released like any other veteran if his performance doesn’t improve soon.
Which school of thought does Mara subscribe to? Here’s what he told the Post:
“Does anybody ever earn that right? That’s just not the way this business is in this day and age,” Mara said when asked about Coughlin’s ability to choose when he wants to leave the Giants. “Let’s hope that it goes that way, but we haven’t even had that discussion yet. … We’re just looking forward to the next couple of seasons.”
It seems clear from that quote that Mara doesn’t feel obligated to keep Coughlin on board if this upcoming season goes as poorly as the 2013 campaign. The Giants improved under Coughlin as that season wore on, but a dreadful 0-6 start -- plagued by poor blocking, turnovers, and injuries -- proved too much to overcome.
I don’t blame Mara at all for feeling the way he appears to feel about Coughlin. The man is a great coach and will go down as one of the great leaders in Giants history no matter what happens this season. However, for a coach held in such high regard, his inability to reach the playoffs consistently is somewhat baffling.
Coughlin has proved he can match wits with the likes of Bill Belichick on multiple occasions. His head-to-head performance against some of the league’s best coaches is solid, but Coughlin has trouble regularly putting two good halves of a season together. Last year, the Giants switched things up and looked a lot better in November and December than they did in September and October. If they can’t get 10 victories out of this year’s slate, it might be time for a change.