Coach Coughlin talks combine traditions

Posted Feb 27, 2013

Coach Tom Coughlin always sits in the same spot at every Indianapolis combine

Critics of the NFL Scouting Combine usually bring up how a fast 40-yard dash time in neon-colored gym clothes might not exactly translate to game speed with pads on. That may be true, but there must be a reason coaches and team executives return to Indianapolis year after year.

And there must be an explanation why Tom Coughlin sits in the same seat each February with a stop watch, especially since he later receives the final results from what is sure to be world-class timing instruments. 

Like everything else, he wants a closer look.

“At every combine I have ever been to in Indianapolis this is my spot,” Coughlin told Kim Jones of NFL Network from the seats of Lucas Oil Stadium on the final day of the combine. “The reason is, I like to be at the 10 [-yard line of the 40-yard dash]. I buy into what all the great evaluators of talent tell you -- that they like to be close so you can see the player, evaluate him, his demeanor as he gets ready to run the 40 [yard dash]. I like all that. But it helps me to concentrate and remember by doing the 10. Most of the time I am not exactly on the 10, but I am close enough for me.”

From that seat, Coughlin has also seen the generations of players evolve since his first NFL coaching experience in 1984.

“Bigger, stronger, faster every year,” he explained. “I remember – I was thinking this morning about this – back in the years Coach Tom Landry had starting offensive tackles at 265 pounds, 260 pounds. You see these kids today, if I look at a kid that is 300 pounds, I go, ‘I don’t know, can he play in this league or not?’ And they [have the ability to] run. That is our game today.”

But as close as he sits to watch NFL hopefuls, Coughlin had a better view a little more than a year ago in the same stadium. That time he was on the sideline, guiding his team to a victory in Super Bowl XLVI.

“When I come into town I think about that,” Coughlin said. “I go over and see the general manager, Phil Ray, of the downtown Marriott because I have such fond memories of being there. They housed our team, they were great to us. But when I come into town everyone is, ‘Hey Coach, how is it going?’ It makes me feel like a hometown. I come over [to Lucas Oil Stadium] and all the guys in the red coats say, ‘Hi, coach’ and they give me a memory or two.

“I do certainly remember that and the feeling. [On the final play of the Super Bowl], I couldn’t see, I couldn’t tell when the ball was on the ground. It was a lot closer, obviously, than I thought. But as soon as the gun went off, it was amazing. I certainly have magnificent memories of coming here.”

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