I started wondering about this the other day when it was announced that Coughlin's 4-year, $21 million extension with the Giants had become official.
He has long been considered a good coach. Now that he has a Super Bowl championship to add to his resume, and has built a better relationship with his players, he has to be considered upper echelon.
Coughlin has a 103-89 career record, a Super Bowl title, another conference championship game appearance with Jacksonville and 8 playoffs wins in 14 tries. No matter what you think of him personally, that is pretty impressive.
I have heard many people saying that he could be headed to the Hall of Fame with a few more good seasons in New York.
That's a stunning assertion considering Coughlin's uncertain status in New York as recently as the end of the regular season.
I won't go that far, but he has be considered among the league's elite coaches right now. But, just exactly how high up on the list is that?
Let's go team-by-team and see how TC matches up with the head coach of every other team. When we're done, we'll see how many coaches I have ranked ahead of Coughlin. My guess is it isn't going to be very many.
Wade Phillips, Dallas Cowboys -- This is no contest. Considering the lengths he is going to in his effort to keep Jason Garrett, it seems even Jerry Jones isn't sure about Phillips. Wade has a nice record (61-42), but his teams have never won when it counted. EDGE: Coughlin
Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles -- Reid has an 88-56 record, a Super Bowl appearance and 5 division titles. Tough call, but Reid has seemed to slip in the past couple of seasons. Right now, he no longer seems to be at the top of his game. EDGE: Coughlin
Jim Zorn, Washington Redskins -- Uh, what did Zorn do exactly to get this job in the first place? EDGE: Coughlin
Lovie Smith, Bears -- Lovie still thinks Rex Grossman is a quality NFL quarterback. EDGE: Coughlin
Rod Marinelli, Detroit Lions -- I had to go to the Lions official Web site to even remember who their coach was. EDGE: Coughlin
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers -- Two seasons has not been enough time to judge him. We start finding out more now that Brett Favre has retired. EDGE: Coughlin
Brad Childress, Minnesota Vikings -- Please, stop reading if you think Childress is a better coach than TC. EDGE: Coughlin
Jon Gruden, Tampa Bay Buccaneers -- Won a Super Bowl title in his first with the Bucs (2002), but his teams have been wildly inconsistent since. I'm not sure Gruden has a plan. EDGE: Coughlin
Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons -- See Jim Zorn. EDGE: Coughlin
John Fox, Carolina Panthers -- I love Fox. He was a great defensive coordinator for the Giants, and has been a good head coach for Carolina (51-45, a 5-2 playoff record and a Super Bowl appearance in six seasons.) I would want him on the short list to replace Coughlin if and when he left. That said, I still have to take TC right now. EDGE: Coughlin
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints -- One great, charmed, year for Payton and one ugly, questionable year. The jury is still out. EDGE: Coughlin
Mike Nolan, San Francisco 49ers -- He's 16-32 in three season with the 49ers and has done little to inspire confidence. But, he looks nice in a suit. EDGE: Coughlin
Ken Whisenhunt, Arizona Cardinals -- One 8-8 season. If he ever lifts this team to the upper echelon he will gain credibility in many corners. Not yet, though. EDGE: Coughlin
Scott Linehan, St. Louis Rams -- No contest here. EDGE: Coughlin
Mike Holmgren, Seattle Seahawks -- Give the Walrus his due. In 16 seasons he has 157 career wins, three Super Bowl appearances and one title. He's nearing the end of the line, but he is a Hall of Fame coach. EDGE: Holmgren
Dick Jauron, Buffalo Bills -- A good coach, but only a 50-67 career record. EDGE: Coughlin
Tony Sparano, Miami Dolphins -- Rookie head coach with no track record. EDGE: Coughlin Eric Mangini, New York Jets -- After his first season in New York he was being called the 'Man-Genius.' Now, after a 4-12 sophomore season, Jets' fans aren't being so kind. EDGE: Coughlin
Bill Belichick, New England Patriots -- Say what you want about him, Belichick is commonly regarded as the league's best coach. I can't argue, even after the Giants beat New England in the Super Bowl. EDGE: Belichick
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals -- In 5 seasons his teams have won more than 8 games just one time. EDGE: Coughlin
Romeo Crennel, Cleveland Browns -- I still can't figure out if the Browns went 10-6 last season because of Crennel or in spite of him. EDGE: Coughlin
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens -- Who? See Jim Zorn. EDGE: Coughlin
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers -- Not enough evidence to judge Tomlin after just one season. EDGE: Coughlin
Tony Dungy, Indianapolis Colts -- A 127-65 career record, a Super Bowl championship and 8 seasons of at least 10 wins in the past 9 years. You can say he has Peyton Manning to thank for that, but he has still done it. EDGE: Dungy
Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville Jaguars -- a 45-35 record in 5 seasons. He has the Jags pointed in the right direction, but doesn't have the championship pedigree yet. EDGE: Coughlin
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans -- Still young and unproven. EDGE: Coughlin
Jeff Fisher, Tennessee Titans -- Probably the coach with a resume most similar to Coughlin's. A 115-99 record and one Super Bowl appearance in 14 seasons. He's had ups and downs, but this guy is a quality football coach who would do well anywhere. EDGE: Push
Mike Shanahan, Denver Broncos -- A 138-90 career record in 16 seasons and two Super Bowl titles. He hasn't won anything without John Elway, though. I am still anxious to see if Shanahan can turn Jay Cutler into a championship QB. EDGE: Shanahan
Herm Edwards, Kansas City Chiefs -- Herm Edwards? Gimme a break! Keep reading when you stop laughing. EDGE: Coughlin
Lane Kiffin, Oakland Raiders -- Lane Kiffin? More laughter. EDGE: Coughlin
Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers -- Norv's 11-5 season in San Diego last season went a long way toward erasing his reputation as a great coordinator who couldn't run a team. It didn't make it go away entirely, though. EDGE: Coughlin
CONCLUSION: Belichick, Dungy, Shanahan and Holmgren is a very short list of guys I would place above Coughlin. With Fisher as a push, that means TC is among the league's top six head coaches. Amazing!
- Jay (The Real MSU)