I apologize for the awfully simplistic sounding title, but sometimes it's just better to state the plain truth. No doubt this doesn't come as a revelation to most of you. Yet I think as Giants fan we get spoiled by how fortunate we are and fail to appreciate how set we are at two of the most critical jobs in the sport.
In order to truly appreciate Tom Coughlin you have to look around the league. This is the third season I've had the Red Zone Channel, and it has enabled me to watch chunks of just about every game every week. What strikes me is just how many awful decisions coaches make week in and week out. Just this past week we had the Falcons going for it on fourth down inside their own 30 in overtime. Then, in the Ravens-Seahawks game the other Harbaugh threw a challenge flag in order to challenge the spot. As is the case with about 98% of this type of challenge, the call on the field stood. This cost the Ravens their second timeout, leaving them with one for the final two minutes, effectively taking them out of the game.
You see this sort of stuff all the time. Coaches make continuous small errors that hamper their team. As someone who has lived in the DC area for a decade now, I've witnessed incompetence upon incompetence at coach. Now the Redskins have Mike "I won a couple of Super Bowls with John Elway thirteen years ago and haven't won didley squat since, but I'm still living off of my reputation" Shanahan. Dan Snyder is paying Shanahan seven million dollars a year and it genuinely seems like the guy is just winging it out there. He makes decisions that seem motivated more by spite than by strategy. Oh, Ryan Torrain rushed for 135 yards last week? Okay, time to give Roy Helu 20 snaps. Why? Screw you, that's why.
I wouldn't suggest that every decision that Tom Coughlin makes is the right one. He's not perfect, but no one is. But Tom Coughlin rarely, if ever, does things that make me scream at the television in frustration. He knows when to challenge calls, he has a great sense of what's happening in the game and what buttons to push, and in all just gives off a sense of being in control of himself and the team. In other words, he's competent, and simple competence is a virtue lacking in an alarming number of coaches around the league.
As for Eli, there is little that I can say that hasn't been said already on this board. While most around the league sniggered when he declared himself an elite quarterback, a majority of us didn't. And with reason. Aside from Aaron Rodgers he has been the most valuable player in this league this season. There is arguably no other quarterback you'd want leading your team down the field with the game on the line. Like Coughlin, he's far from perfect. He still makes ridiculous throws and gives away points. And sure, he's got that hang-dog expression that doesn't always exactly inspire confidence. But when Eli is behind center, you are more confident than not that good things will happen.
Now look at the other tenant of their stadium. I actually do root for the Jets, and have been watching Mark Sanchez develop over the last three years. Sure, he "led" the Jets to the AFC title game in his first two seasons, but no one in their right mind could argue that Sanchez is even remotely on the level of Eli Manning. If anything, it almost seems like Sanchez has been regressing. He's capable of leading the Jets down the field in crucial situations and has done so on occasion, but he inspires nowhere near the same amount of confidence as Eli. In fact, every time he drops back to pass I half wonder how he'll screw up. Last night on a third and long from his own 20 in the third quarter he threw a pass that I knew was going to become a six pick before it left his arm. And that touchdown was the only reason that St. Tebow was able to lead the Broncos on a game winning drive. Of course Manning has done the same, but with Sanchez it's become expected.
Long story short, Coughlin and Manning inspire a level of confidence that is hard to fully appreciate unless you realize what is out there in the rest of the league. There is a reason that the Giants have been either a playoff team or at the very least a contender late into the season every full season since Coughlin and Manning have taken over the reigns. It's a nice feeling to know that your team is in such capable hands.
And now that I've completely jinxed the team for this coming Sunday, I'll bow out.