The forgone conclusion has become a formality, or sooner is now later.
The Giants announced today that head coach Tom Coughlin has signed a contract extension that will take him through the 2014 NFL season. Coughlin's previous contract was scheduled to expire following the 2012 season. But sides were eager to extend their relationship. The Giants because they believe Coughlin - who in February led the Giants to their second Super Bowl victory in his tenure – is the NFL's finest coach, and Coughlin because coaching the Giants is an absolute labor of love.
When asked publicly in recent weeks about the pact, team president John Mara always spoke of the inevitability of reaching an agreement. At the ceremony three weeks ago at Tiffany and Co. in which the players and coaches received their world championship rings, Mara said it would happen, "sooner rather than later." Because it was only a matter of time, the negotiations included no angst, annoyance or anger from Coughlin or the Giants.
And both the coach and the team are thrilled to continue their successful partnership.
"It has always been my belief that it is an honor and a privilege to be the head coach of the New York Giants," said Coughlin. "I'm thankful to John Mara and Steve Tisch and their families for their support and the recognition of what our players and coaches have accomplished. And I'm grateful for the working relationship Jerry Reese and I have. We've got a lot of work left to do."
Coughlin is one of the best coaches in the modern NFL and in Giants history. The 2012 season will be Coughlin's ninth with the Giants, making him the second-longest tenured coach in franchise history. Only Hall of Fame coach Steve Owen, who reigned for 24 seasons from 1930-53, led the team for a longer time period.
"I wanted Tom as our head coach going all the way back to the early '90s," said Mara, "so it was with great confidence that Ernie Accorsi and I recommended to my father and Bob Tisch in 2004 that we hire Tom. Of course, my father didn't need to be convinced. He saw what we have all seen, a man who has a singular focus and incredible dedication when it comes to his work. In so many ways, Tom represents to me who and what the head coach of our franchise should be."
In 16 seasons as an NFL head coach – eight apiece with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Giants - Coughlin is 142-114 (.557) in the regular season and 12-7 (.632) in the postseason for an overall record of 154-121 (.560). The 142 regular season victories tie him with new St. Louis Coach Jeff Fisher for 19th place on the all-time list. Coughlin's 154 total victories tie him with Hall of Famer Marv Levy for 17th on the NFL's career list. His 12 postseason victories tie him with former Pittsburgh Coach Bill Cowher for the sixth-highest total in NFL history.
"Tom is the right person in the right job at the right time," said Chairman Steve Tisch. "I just really appreciate how our players respond to his leadership, and obviously our organization has benefitted tremendously because of the relationship Tom has with his players."
Coughlin has led the Jaguars and the Giants to five division titles and nine playoff berths.
Coughlin's 74 regular season Giants victories are the third-highest total among head coaches in team history, behind only Owen (153) and Bill Parcells (77). His eight Giants postseason victories tie him with Parcells for the franchise record. Coughlin has led the Giants to two NFC East titles and five playoff berths in eight years.
"Tom is a winner and he's a fighter," said General Manager Jerry Reese. "And I enjoy and appreciate working with him. From where I sit, I couldn't ask for more in a head coach."
The 2011 season was one of the most rewarding of Coughlin's career. The Giants finished 9-7 and won the NFC East championship before winning four postseason games, including their second Super Bowl in five seasons, a 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI. Coughlin improved to 2-0 in Super Bowls as a head coach. He is the 13th coach to win multiple Super Bowls and is one of 18 coaches with a perfect Super Bowl record.
The 2011 Giants emulated the 2007 championship team by winning two road postseason games, the NFC Divisional Playoff in Green Bay and the conference championship game in San Francisco. Coughlin has nine postseason victories away from home - seven on the road and two neutral site Super Bowls. Seven of those nine victories were with the Giants in 2007 and 2011. The Giants have won seven consecutive postseason games away from home (five on the road, two neutral sites). Both streaks – five consecutive on the road, seven in a row away from home – are NFL postseason records. Coughlin's seven career road playoff victories tie Hall of Famer Tom Landry for the most in NFL history. Coughlin is 7-4 on the road in the playoffs (5-1 with the Giants). Landry was 7-7.
Coughlin is 7-3 in postseason games against teams he faced in the regular season, including victories over 2011 foes Green Bay, San Francisco and New England.
Coughlin was 65 years, 158 days old when Super Bowl XLVI was played on Feb. 5, making him the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl and the second-oldest to guide his team to the title game. Buffalo's Marv Levy was 68 years old when he coached the last of his four Super Bowls in January 1993. Coughlin is also the fourth-oldest coach to win a Super Bowl as a result of his team's Super Bowl XLII victory.
The 2011 Giants gained a franchise-record 6,161 yards. The former mark of 6,085 was set in 2010. Those are the only two 6,000-yard seasons in Giants history.
The Giants shattered their franchise record with 4,734 net passing yards. The former mark of 4,019 was set in 2009. Those are the only two 4,000-yard passing seasons in Giants history. In 2011, the Giants also set a team record with 359 pass completions and had at least 200 passing yards in every game for the first time in their history.
Last year, the Giants won five regular season games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter, tying the franchise record they set in 2002. They tied Denver and Cincinnati for the NFL's second-highest total. Arizona led the league with six.
In the last six seasons, the Giants' regular season records have been 11-5, 8-8, 10-6, 12-4, 8-8, 10-6 and 9-7. Their six-year streak without a losing record is the Giants' longest since they had 10 in a row from 1954-63.
The 2011 Giants were unique Super Bowl champions. They were the first team to win the title after a) losing seven games in the regular season; b) losing four consecutive games in the regular season; c) finishing with a negative scoring differential (394-400) in the regular season, and d) finishing last in the NFL in rushing in the regular season. They did so thanks to the resilience, toughness and tenacity which characterize Coughlin-coached teams. In their four postseason victories, the Giants defeated 10-6 Atlanta, 15-1 Green Bay, 13-3 San Francisco and 13-3 New England to become the first team to beat four teams in the playoffs with better regular season records. The Giants are the first team to twice win four games in a single postseason (doing it in 2007 and 2011).