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Big Blue View Round Table: Is Tom Coughlin a Hall of Fame coach?

Coughlin believes he 'merits consideration' for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Big Blue View contributors weigh in on whether or not they think he is a Hall of Fame coach.

Tom Coughlin
Tom Coughlin
Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Coughlin said during the NFL owner's meetings last week that he believes he "merits consideration" for the Pro Football Hall of Fame thanks to the two Super Bowls the New York Giants have won during his tenure.

After 10 seasons in New York and two championships, Coughlin is absolutely correct that he merits consideration. When the time comes, it's a lock that he will get that consideration from Hall of Fame voters. But, will he get in? That's the real question.

We broke out the Round Table to give Big Blue View writers a chance to discuss that question. The results are below.

Valentine's View

Coughlin has always been -- and despite the gnashing of teeth by some Giants' fans about his age and his stubbornness -- continues to be a great NFL coach. I believe he undoubtedly "merits consideration" for the Hall of Fame, but don't seem him as a lock. If Bill Parcells and Michael Strahan can't get into the Hall on the first ballot I definitely don't see Coughlin as a first ballot Hall of Famer.

The case for Coughlin is those two Super Bowl titles with the Giants, the fact that he built the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars from scratch, got the Jags to the AFC Championship Game in their second season and made the playoffs four straight seasons in Jacksonville. Coughlin is tied for 17th all time with 154 coaching victories.

There is also a case against Coughlin. His .549 career winning percentage is very good, but not great. The end of his tenure in Jacksonville wasn't pretty, with three straight losing seasons. During his tenure with the Giants there have been two historic teams that over-achieved to win Super Bowls. You can also argue that there have been a couple of teams that also vastly under-achieved in playoff-less seasons.

In the end, I believe Coughlin deserves selection to the Hall of Fame. I believe, however, that it will take some time before voters select him. The only way that changes is if Coughlin wins another Super Bowl before riding into the sunset -- or at least guides the Giants to a couple more deep playoff runs.

Connor Hughes

While I don't believe he is first ballot yet, Tom Coughlin's career most definitely makes him worthy to have his bust grace the Pro Football Hall of Fame. What some seem to forget -- and the two Super Bowl championships overshadow -- is that his entire career has been one of the best in the history of the game. With the Jaguars, Coughlin coached the team to two AFC Championship appearances and was named the Coach of the Year in 1996. In 1990, he won his first Super Bowl with the Giants as the team's wide receivers coach. These accolades cannot go unnoticed.

The argument can be made about Jimmy Johnson and how can you put Coughlin in with two Super Bowl's but not him. The answer is simple: majority of work. Yes, Johnson won two Super Bowls with the Cowboys, but what of his stint with the Dolphins? The Phins never once made it past the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Not to mention, when Johnson was replaced there was little to no drop off from in Dallas.

When you combine Coughlin's career as an assistant, start with the Jaguars and now history in New York, there should be no doubt in anyone's mind where he deserves to be five years after retirement.


This is a tough one.

Sentiment makes me want to say "Yes, absolutely" without hesitation. Under Coughlin the Giants have been one of the most successful (albeit inconsistently so) teams in the NFL. During his tenure as head coach, only one other team has won multiple Superbowls (Pittsburgh Steelers), and two others have been to multiple championship games (Patriots and Colts).

Furthermore, his work with the newborn Jacksonville Jaguars is impressive. To take an expansion team to two conference championships in the first four years of the team's existence speaks highly of his abilities.

Beyond that, while I've never met the man, everything I have heard said about him by his players and peers, and the things he has done in the community and for his teams, makes me believe that he is one of the genuinely GOOD people in the NFL, and deserves the honor and recognition on a personal level.

However, those inconsistencies give me pause. The ending of his time in Jacksonville, the Giants' "All or Nothing" behavior in the post-season... While I don't think these things are all necessarily his fault *coughcough*Plax'd*coughcough*, they still happened on his watch and stain his record.

Ultimately, if I had a vote, it would likely be "Yay" but, whether or not he makes it in with his current resume might depend on the strength of the ballot.

Dennis Esser

Tom Coughlin's NFL Hall of Fame worthiness is something that I thought long and hard about after Bill Parcells was elected into the Hall of Fame. When I put their careers side by side they are very similar. Parcells had a .570 win percentage over 22 years as a head coach and was 11-8 in the playoffs with 2 Super Bowl Titles and 1 Super Bowl Loss, while Tom Couglin has a .549 win percentage over 18 years as a head coach and a 12-7 Playoff record with 2 Super Bowl Titles. They both built or rebuilt franchises in their first head coaching job and out performed expectations in that first stop.

I believe Coughlin belongs just a notch higher in the all-time coaching rankings because of his incredible under-dog coaching accomplishments. In 1996 his Jacksonville Jaguars knocked off the Super Bowl favorite Denver Broncos in one of the biggest upsets in playoff history and then again he pulled off the seemingly impossible as his under-dog Giants beat the undefeated (until that point) New England Patriots to win his first Super Bowl. Coughlin's ability to pull his team together and defeat opponents that on paper were considered superior make him one of my all time favorites.

Jesse Bartolis

I believe Tom Coughlin has done enough in his career to be a Hall of Fame member though one more Superbowl win or even appearance will put to rest any question of his worthiness. This is truly a debate. His regular season winning percentage of .549 is impressive, but it leaves a bit desired for a Hall of Fame coach, it trails guys like Love Smith, Wade Phillips, Andy Reid, Brian Billick, and it's 53rd overall for career coaches. His 158 wins are more impressive, which is 17th most of all time. His longevity is good and his postseason record of 12-7 is impressive, but his career record is not great

Where Tom Coughlin has really excelled is with the remarkable job he did with the start-up Jacksonville Jaguars and the fact that he took two very unlikely Giants teams to the Superbowl. His worthiness resides in the title Hall of Fame. What's more famous than defeating the perfect team with the all-time head coach and all time great quarterback? Is he the greatest coach in history? No, but he does have an historic career and will likely be enshrined in Canton one day.


There are currently 22 coaches in the Hall of Fame. After doing some exceedingly tedious research, I calculated the average win percentage of all the coaches in the Hall to be right around .608. Most coached for more than 10 years, with the longest being Don Shula's insane 33-year long streak. Most have won at least one pre-Super Bowl era championship or a Super Bowl, but that's not exactly a requirement. So how does Tom Coughlin compare? Tom has, of course, won two Super Bowls which automatically puts him in the top tier of that category, right below guys like Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs, and Bill Belichick. He's coached for 18 years, which puts him slightly above average for the coaches in the hall. So far so good, right? Now I mentioned the win percentage for the coaches in the hall. What was Tom's -- .549. Yikes, that's not great.

Ultimately, what Tom's calling card to the Hall will be this: Bill Belicheck, Tom Flores, John Harbaugh, Jimmy Johnson, Joe Gibbs, Vince Lombardi, Chuck Noll. Those are the only guys in NFL history who have coached in at least 10 playoff games and have a higher winning percentage than Tom's .632. It's not easy to win in the playoffs, but at least twice Coughlin's been able to go all the way. That counts for a lot. Do I think that makes him qualify for the Hall? No, not yet. That win percentage needs to go up. If he can squeeze out two more seasons of at least 10 wins, that'll push him up to .556, closer to HOFs Marv Levy, Jimmy Johnson, and Bill Parcells and would give him a better shot. More playoff wins can only help as well, and a Super Bowl would make him a stone cold lock.

Your Turn

It seems that all of the BBV writers think that if Coughlin isn't there already, he can get there with another good season or two. What do you think? Vote in the poll and let us know.