Tom Coughlin has been on a whirlwind media blitz the past two days, holding a book signing to promote the newly-released book 'Earn The Right To Win', making a variety of appearances and giving a myriad of interviews. Coughlin's media blitz included a chat Wednesday morning with me.
Coughlin laughed and said "no" when asked if he could have foreseen putting himself through this type of media blitz a few years ago.
"We've done a lot, and I've never done anything like this. I've never gone bang, bang, bang from place to place and been featured in these short blocks. What I've always done is either a press conference or one-on-ones. So, it has been interesting, it has been educational," Coughlin said.
[Book Review: 'Earn The Right To Win']
"We're working along here, we're making progress, we've been able to maintain our enthusiasm. People have been extremely nice. Every place we go it's full of Giants' fans. It's really been neat that way."
Coughlin called the experience of meeting and greeting Giants' fans "enjoyable."
Coughlin said he chose to write the book after the Giants defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46, thinking there might be a "universal appeal" for the methodology he applies to coaching a football team.
"I thought there might be a universal appeal for something like this. You can be a young lady rising in her company who has a goal of being a CEO. You can be a young mother with children and a schedule where all these kids are involved in so many different activities and you've got a PTA and a husband. Many times these young gals work as well," Coughlin said.
"The rigid structure and organizational tools, punctuality, the ability to delegate responsibility. All of these things are very, very important. To have the discipline to follow through, to keep a smile on your face. To have structure so that that structure allows that you can mid-stream adjust."
Coughlin credited author David Fisher with doing an "outstanding job" and said that he Fisher went to Syracuse when Coughlin was a running back for the school.
In typical, detail-oriented Coughlin fashion he said "book is actually written and published and produced exactly the way the publisher [Penguin] wanted it. It's right what was ordered."
Structure and consistency are, of course, important to Coughlin.
"People do know what to expect from me," Coughlin said. They expect someone who demands commitment, demands an outstanding work ethic, who tries to stay positive.
"It's very important to be consistent, it's very important to be strong, it's very important to find some silver lining, some positives in everything that we do."
"We really want our players to be the best they can be. We ask for a full and total commitment and we don't want anybody comfortable, we don't want anybody relaxed. When they come to work we want ‘em anxious, we want them to prove to us by their mannerisms, by their energy level that this is the most important thing, this is the priority for them."
Coughlin said getting through to players can sometimes be difficult because of the number of distractions they face away from the field.
"You have to pound away. There's any number of people that have their ear, and you may not even know them all. You don't know sometimes what is going on in a player's personal life. You don't know what things are tugging at him," Coughlin said. "Does he have relatives that are in need? Are they asking for money?
"You don't know what the agent's telling them. You hope and pray that number one they are high character individuals, number two they share with you the commitment to excellence, to being the very best they can be."
Coughlin has been asked a number of times about the difficult of releasing Ahmad Bradshaw. Here is what he said to me:
"Each time you have to part with a player that's meant a lot to you it's difficult. Ahmad exemplifies the kind of toughness and the kind of constitution an individual must have to be successful at this level."
NOTE: I have to guess some of you might be curious about Coughlin's famous punctuality. My phone rang at precisely 11:40 a.m. ... exactly when out 10-minute interview was to begin. So, precisely on time. I do, however, feel like I stole some of Coughlin's time. Our 10-minute interview lasted exactly 11:49. Thanks to the folks at Penguin Group for making the coach available to me.
Tom Coughlin and Michael Strahan [photo by Melissa Baron]