From the second he raised the Vince Lombardi Trophy above his head after leading the Giants to the Super Bowl XLII championship, Tom Coughlin knew a contract extension was forthcoming. Even though the terms – four years, $21 million – had been determined for weeks, the Giants finally made it official, announcing the deal in a press release Saturday morning.
“Tom Coughlin has done a great job for us and we think this contract recognizes his outstanding achievements here,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer. “This is a message to him and to our fans that we want him to be our coach for many years to come.”
The 2008 season will be Coughlin’s fifth with the Giants. He is 35-29 in the regular season and 4-2 in the postseason. Coughlin has led the Giants to the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, including a 2007 Wild Card berth that kicked off one of the most remarkable and memorable postseason runs in NFL history. The Giants won four consecutive games away from Giants Stadium, including a 17-14 triumph in Super Bowl XLII over the previously undefeated New England Patriots. Along the way, the Giants defeated the NFC’s top two seeds (Dallas and Green Bay).
“For Tom Coughlin, ‘coach’ is not just a title, it's a responsibility,” said Steve Tisch, the team’s chairman and executive vice president. “He took a group of football players and molded them into the best team in the world. We are honored he will lead the New York Giants for many more years and know that the team and its fans are better for his amazing contributions.”
This was the second Giants’ Super Bowl triumph that Coughlin has been associated with; he was the team’s wide receivers coach when the Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
“I was thrilled to become the head coach of the New York Giants in 2004, after my interviews with John Mara, Ernie Accorsi and Mr. (Wellington) Mara and Mr. (Bob) Tisch,” Coughlin said. “It would be difficult for me to capture the emotions for the opportunity I was given back in 1988 to be an assistant coach with the Giants. And then to have the opportunity to be the head coach was the fulfillment of a dream of a lifetime. And now to be able to continue in that capacity – with this organization, with this leadership, with this football team and with my coaching staff in place – is something my family and I are extremely excited about.”
In the Super Bowl, the Giants were two-touchdown underdogs to a Patriots team that hoped to be only the second in NFL history to finish a season undefeated and untied. But with a terrific performance by the defense and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes by Eli Manning – another player Coughlin steadfastly supported in tough times – the Giants won their third Super Bowl title.
“We came in the same year – he (traded for) me,” Manning said. “We’ve had our ups and downs. One thing a quarterback and a head coach share is you get too much blame after a loss and too much credit after a win sometimes. And we both understand that.
“We have a great relationship. We understand each other. I’m excited for him that he’s going to be our coach for a long time, and we’re looking forward to it.”