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Super Bowl XLVI: Coughlin Interview


(Opening statement) "What a great morning it is for us to come before you as Super Bowl Champions and as world champions. It was a great football game, as it always is. The New England Patriots, Bill Belichick, an exceptional football coach and a great game. These games are always this way. Last minute, fourth quarter – we talk an awful lot throughout finish, finish, finish, and the young man who won the MVP certainly put our team on his back many, many times, and we finished in the fourth quarter with some kind of a score that would allow us to eventually win the game. We're excited. We're excited right now, to be honest with you, and our stay here in Indianapolis has been outstanding. I mention the University of Indianapolis and the people there, and the hospitality that we received in practicing over there, and the facility, and the National Football League, and the University of Indianapolis providing us with an exceptional practice site. We appreciated that very much, and the hospitality of the people of Indianapolis has been extended to us and we're very, very thankful. I'd also like to mention the general manager Phil Ray of the Downtown Marriot. You don't find many people like this who answer questions for you and solve problems, and it's done. All you have to do is say something to Phil about any issue that you'd like and he solves it, and I appreciate that very much as well. We're excited to be world champions, and excited to be here again this morning."

(on how he explains the narrow wins over the Patriots) "I don't know if you can explain it, to be honest with you. I don't know if there is any explanation for it. The games are highly competitive. Very, very skilled teams. Outstanding quarterbacks on both teams. Great defense, to be honest with you. The numbers that you look at throughout the course of the year, the New York Giant and New England Patriot defensive teams that didn't have the numbers, weren't ranked in the upper echelon of the defensive teams in the league, but how both (defenses) have played in the playoffs, and how we played since the Jet game – just exceptional defensive play. Special teams, I recognize our guy Steven Weatherford and the way he's played down the stretch and punted the ball, and created field position for our team. Just highly competitive, highly physical football games that are designed, and established, and work out exactly the way you would want. They are fourth quarter wins, and both teams are playing exceptionally hard. The New England coaching staff, Bill Belichick, a friend of mine, a guy that I admired for many years, a true Hall-of-Famer, a great football coach. The games are so competitive and so close, and we're just fortunate to have made the necessary plays late in the game to win."

(on what went through his mind with the ball in the air on the final play) "What was going through my mind was I was yelling and thinking to myself, 'Knock the ball down, knock the ball down,' which is what we tell the guys to do in that circumstance. I didn't get a good look at it, but what I saw at the end was the official (signaling incomplete) and I did take a sigh of relief."

(on what traits make the Giants finish games well) "Mental toughness, resiliency, resolve. We keep playing, we keep fighting, and we're highly competitive. We do have great trust in each other, great belief that we can finish, and that if we keep playing one play at a time as hard as we can go that we will find a way to win. It didn't look real good. The last drive before the half, in which New England drove the ball and scored, and the first drive of the second half, (the Patriots) drive the ball and score, but the game was within reach. There was some frustration on our part, in terms of kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns as we put the ball in the green zone. We just kept scrambling away, and we did find a way to get them out, and in getting them out we put the ball back in our offense and in Eli (Manning's) hands, and the very first play, the Mario Manningham (catch), which was an exceptional football play, which these young men are capable of making. An excellent, excellent pass and a great, inbounds catch going to the ground to secure the ball ¬¬- that really got us going, and provided us with that spark, which I thought was again, another exceptional play to put us in position to win the game."

(on if he has thought about his legacy as a coach since the win) "No, I don't really think about that stuff, to be honest with you. It's not about me and this is what we talk about all the time. We're about team, we're not about individuals. We're about the team and what's in the best interest of our team, and we feel that all our power is generated from team. We're certainly very cognizant of some of the superior individuals that we have on our team, thank goodness, but it is the team that provides us with our strength, and our ability to perform under pressure, whether it is good or bad, and that's the way we think."

(on what he said to QB Eli Manning after winning the Super Bowl) "Well I haven't really had many opportunities to take Eli aside and express myself to him. I did say to our team on Saturday night how proud of them I am and I mean that sincerely. What these young men have done, and the key thing when I say pride is that the way the team has come together, the way that we support, trust and believe in one another, the way they play for each other and support each other. I think Chase Blackburn is a great example of that. He's probably the best on-the-field, during-the-game, cheerleader that I've ever seen. Well Michael Strahan was like this, too, but he is up and down the sidelines cheering for the special teams and the offense, doing his job defensively. It's heartwarming to see guys who want it so badly and perform themselves at such a high level. (It) means so much to our team. But really share, instead of sitting over there on the sideline and conserving your energy, share that energy with everyone else. I congratulated Eli and of course being Eli he said to me after winning the MVP that, 'All I want to do is help our team win,' which is so consistent with the way he is. I thought, again, this business is about elite quarterbacks, I think that question's come and gone. I don't think we'll hear much about that again, but I thought that his response to that was one of the…if I could have spent hours scripting what I would say to someone in that same category, what he said was incredible: 'I'm just trying to be the best football player, the best quarterback I can be and help my team win,' and I think that says it all."

(on if he is an elite coach and a better coach than Belichick) "There you go. I'm just trying to do my job the best I possibly can do it. Thank you very much."

(on if he envisions himself coaching this team 10 years from now) "Well, I'm only 45. Maybe that could happen."

(on if he is coming back to coach next year) "I certainly hope so. My intentions are to be that way. I do have some ownership that has to give approval, but I'm looking forward to it."

(on if he knows players have resiliency and toughness or if he develops it) "Well I think it's an ingredient we hope they all have when they become a Giant. We do a great job of that, investigating, thoroughly investigating the player, not only his physical ability, but what he's made of. But it's a collective development. There isn't any question about it and it's a part of the team idea and a part of the individuals being responsible to one another. When I called for better peer pressure, maybe three quarters of the way through the season, that's what I was looking for were guys who, yeah they were constructive, there's no doubt about it. But they were also asking of each other that each individual study and prepare and practice and play his very, very best and the result being that you are responsible to one another. You have to be accountable to one another. You have to be someone who takes great pride in that responsibility."

(on what his night was like last night) "It was basically family, very close friends and a lot of banter back and forth. The circumstances were great. As late as the hour was, being able to reminisce about the game, talk about the game and take great pride again in the outcome, and just relax a little bit, different from the way it's been for the last six months."

(on if he slept last night) "I did. About 15 minutes, but yes I did."

(on what he's looking forward to about the next few weeks) "I think a little bit of time away from it, perhaps, and then probably right back here in Indianapolis. I'm excited, to be honest with you, for the young guys and the guys who have not experienced it – whether they are veterans or not – for Tuesday. If you're any kind of historian, and you do have any recollection of this parade, the 'Parade of Champions' if you will, the 'Canyon of Heroes' – I remember (Giants President and CEO) John Mara looking at me and saying, 'You don't want to miss this now.' It's the same thing I would convey to all of our players, you don't want to miss this. Heartwarming doesn't quite cover this, what you go through and what your feelings are. When you are looking down the side streets, and there's people forever down those side streets, and they're all there because they are taking ownership of their team."

(on if he would have played the end of the Giants last possession differently knowing New England was letting them score) "In the back of my mind always was the touchdown. I didn't care how much time was left. We had 35 seconds a few years back and I was worried about that. When that ball went down the field in the seam twice with 35 seconds left, and they only needed a field goal – so the thought about the touchdown was always there. Would I have orchestrated it differently? Perhaps, you certainly don't want to leave that much time on the clock. But anything that would have become as a result of that would have been my fault because I really didn't instruct the runner not to score. But having scored and having the four-point difference, and the way our defense played at the end, although we certainly kept the drama involved with the fourth-down completion, it turned out the right way."

(on his success impacting the Jay Fund Foundation, which he started) "What this Super Bowl championship will allow us to do is to reach out and help others because of this forum. That's what you pray for. Jay Fund has been very successful in reaching out to families who have children with cancer. To help them in their time of desperate need, many times families don't have any place else to go. When a child has cancer, everyone runs to the side of the child. Many times people can't go to work, they're there for the support of the child. But as we know, life doesn't stop. There's many times where there are other siblings, mortgage payments, car payments, grocery bills and all the things that happen within a family that have to be taken care of, that's where the Jay Fund comes in. Hopefully with the recognition again of the opportunity to take full advantage of the Super Bowl championship to make sure people understand even more about the Jay Fund, that we can do more to help people in need and families in need."

(on how he explains being at this point after sitting at 7-7) "Well I don't know if I really can, but I will tell you this: from the earliest part of camp moving forward, particularly what we went through the seemingly every week, we would have an injury that would be, under normal circumstances, devastating, I think what would happen there is that the players fed off of me and I fed off the players. The players would not back down from moving forward no matter what. We all felt bad about when an individual was hurt and could not continue and the season would come to an end for that player, and we would try to recognize that and recognize the contributions, but we never changed our objective. We never changed our goal. We never changed our attitude about what had to be accomplished and what we had to do. This is a great statement to our players as well as to our mental toughness. That's what you have to rely on. Somehow, someway, you have got to answer these questions. The next guy has to come along, step up, play well and give you a chance to win. That's exactly what we did. That's exactly the approach we took. The players were great about that. We didn't spend time thinking backwards. We were always looking forwards and knowing that, yeah there were a lot of young guys that had to step up or people that were not recognized perhaps as starters prior to that, we had to do some things. We had to shuffle some people around and put them in positions where they had to emerge and emerge very quickly. For a while, as we were trying to get this thing organized, perhaps it didn't look as if the end result would be this. But because of their mental toughness, because they hung in there, because they continued to believe, because we continued to be in the hunt for the NFC East title, that was always there for us. That was something that we relied on. No matter good or bad, when we would come together on a Monday, we would recognize exactly where we were and what had to happen for us to have a chance in that capacity. That says a lot about our players as well."

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