Tom Coughlin a better coach than Bill Belichick? At least one NFL analyst thinks you can make a strong case for the New York Giants' head coach over Belichick, the New England Patriots' coach commonly regarded as the game's best.
The Sporting News recently ranked Coughlin No. 3 among NFL head coaches, behind only Belichick and Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks. Sporting News columnist Ross Tucker, a former NFL player who also hosts his own show on Sirius XM NFL Radio, took issue with those rankings. "It's certainly not a slam dunk," Tucker wrote.
Here is Tucker's case for Coughlin:
Coughlin started an expansion franchise from scratch with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1996 and took them to the postseason four times in his first five years, including two berths in AFC Championship games. That's amazing and unprecedented for a fledgling franchise.
Belichick, on the other hand, only made the playoffs one time during his five-year stint as head coach of the Cleveland Browns in the '90s. That obviously pales in comparison to what Coughlin accomplished in Jacksonville.
Now let's look more recently. Over the last nine years since Eli Manning's first full season as the starting quarterback in 2005, Coughlin has won two Super Bowl championships. Belichick has none. Maybe even more importantly, Coughlin has beaten Belichick head to head in both of those Super Bowls. That's a tremendous feather in his cap, especially when you consider the 2007 Patriots were clearly the more talented team in that game.
Have the Giants been as consistent as the Patriots in the non-championship years? Absolutely not, but then again, Manning isn't as consistent as Brady. Not even close.
I believe Brady is the best quarterback in NFL history. Even if you disagree, there has to be an acknowledgment that you can make a very compelling argument in Brady's favor in that regard. Manning? I'm not sure he's a top 10 QB in the NFL right now. He certainly wasn't last year.
So Coughlin did far better than Belichick with a different team and different group of men in their respective first opportunities as head coaches and has won two more Super Bowls over the last seven years, beating Belichick head to head both times when everything was at stake with a lesser quarterback.
Tucker makes a compelling case, at least making the point that the 'best coach' title should not be handed to Belichick without discussion. So, let's have that discussion. Would you rather have Coughlin or Belichick patrolling the sidelines, Giants' fans?
From here, I don't know that I would make the case that Coughlin is a 'better' coach than Belichick. I do know that I believe Coughlin, despite two Super Bowl titles, is under-appreciated by many Giants' fans. Despite the Giants' inconsistency over the years what Coughlin has done is in many ways equally as impressive as anything Belichick has done in New England. Maybe more impressive.
Yes, the Giants have had the lesser quarterback during Coughlin's tenure with the Giants. Manning is not Brady. They have also had the lesser roster. The Giants were not as talented as the Patriots in either of their Super Bowl match-ups, and probably weren't even the most talented team in the NFC. Coughlin has done more with less, and that is what is truly impressive. You would love more consistency, but you can't argue with titles.
However, you answer the question the fact is that Coughlin's team have beaten Belichick's more talented, heavily-favored, teams twice in Super Bowls. Really, that is all that matters.