Coughlin’s Giants spoiled a perfect season for Belichick’s Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, only to defeat them again four years later in Super Bowl XLVI. Belichick and Coughlin were No. 1 and No. 2 in wins among active coaches, that is, until Coughlin stepped down on Monday after 12 seasons with Big Blue.
Speaking on a conference call with New England media as the Patriots enjoy a first-round bye in the playoffs, Belichick reflected on Coughlin’s legacy and their relationship.
“Tom’s had a great career as a head coach and as an assistant coach – BC [Boston College], Jacksonville, New York,” Belichick said. “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time. I have a lot of respect for Tom and his family, the way he approaches his job and the way he coaches. We had a great relationship at the Giants when we were on the same staff and have had good relationships throughout our respective careers.
Coughlin delivered an unforgettable speech yesterday in his farewell press conference at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
“I have been the head coach at two Super Bowl press conferences. I've been the head coach at two AFC Championship conferences with an expansion team. I'm more nervous about this press conference than I’ve been about anything I've done,” he began.
“I said yesterday that it was not a sad day for me, or for us, for Judy, for my family. This is a little different situation today because Judy and I together a long time ago, we don't say ‘good-bye.’ We just say ‘next time’ -- and that's really what I'm trying to convey here today, as well. It's been an honor and a privilege for me to be the 16th head coach of the New York Giants.”