Tom Coughlin or Bill Parcells?
SALARY CAP RESTRAINTS MAKE COUGHLIN'S SUCCESS MORE IMPRESSIVE
Tom Coughlin has a new contract, and a new title to go with it:
Best Coach in New York Giants History.
That's unofficial, of course -- but it's true. His second Super Bowl win four months ago sealed the deal.
On the surface, Coughlin's career looks eerily similar to that of former Giants coach Bill Parcells. The Big Tuna had a record of 77-49-1 in eight years at the helm, a .611 winning percentage. Coughlin's current record with the Giants is 74-54, his winning percentage slightly behind at .578.
Both coaches have won two Super Bowls. Both have won eight playoff games with the franchise. Both will likely end up enshrined in Canton one day.
The difference is, Parcells and Coughlin coached their teams in very different eras.
The National Football League introduced a salary cap for the first time prior to the 1994 season. That's four years after Parcells left Big Blue.
During Parcells' tenure, the Giants were able retain as many players as they wanted from their championship nucleus. Coughlin has not had that luxury, yet has still produced two titles in the past five years.
Plus, the Giants' upset of the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, ruining the Pats' perfect season, is more impressive than anything on Parcells' resume.
And, Coughlin's not done. He just agreed to a two-year contract extension, meaning he's signed for at least three more seasons. And with quarterback Eli Manning in his prime, and multiple star players on both sides of the ball, the Giants should be contenders next season and beyond.
By the time Coughlin hangs it up, this will be a slam dunk.
IN A STACKED NFC, PARCELLS BUILT THE GIANTS TO WHAT THEY ARE TODAY
Tom Coughlin has won two Super Bowls in five seasons and now is rightfully among the highest-paid coaches in the NFL.
But is he the best coach in Giants franchise history? Coughlin has certainly earned the right to be considered so, and has closed the gap. But I'm giving the edge to Bill Parcells.
I have an enormous amount of respect for Coughlin, who has shown that he can handle today's generation of players, coach with what he has in the ever-changing era of free agency and do a masterful job in the biggest game.
But while Justin Tuck talks about turning this current collection of Giants into a dynasty, Parcells won two Super Bowls in an era when he had to beat dynastic teams just to make it to the Super Bowl.
Parcells had to get by Bill Walsh and Joe Montana's 49ers and Joe Gibbs' Redskins to represent the NFC. Heck, he had to face the Redskins twice every regular season in a much more difficult NFC East than the one Coughlin currently resides in. And in the NFC, the Giants not only had the Niners in their way but they also had the Bears and even Rams to deal with back then.
Yes, Parcells had one of the all-time great defenses, the best defensive player in NFL history in Lawrence Taylor and an incredible coaching staff that included Bill Belichick. Coughlin was also his wide receivers coach on the 1990 title team.
But Parcells did more than win in an era filled with some of the greatest teams in NFL history in his own conference. He helped resurrect the Giants, change the culture by modernizing the franchise and doing things like upgrading the weight room and instilling a winning attitude that carries on today with Coughlin.