Coughlin's willingness to change led to Super Bowls

Tue Jan 5, 2016 5:11pm EST
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By Larry Fine

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (Reuters) - Tom Coughlin turned an expansion team into a contender then found Super Bowl glory with the New York Giants after ditching his authoritarian approach for a more inclusive style.

Coughlin remarkably had the Jacksonville Jaguars one win away from a Super Bowl berth in their second National Football League season but it wasn't until he joined the Giants that he reached the top of the coaching profession.

He faced a near mutiny from Giants players disgruntled by his strict approach after he took charge of the team in 2004 and three of them filed grievances against him for fining them for being less than five minutes early to scheduled meetings.

Even his Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan bristled at a fine for being just three minutes early to a meeting.

But Coughlin softened his approach, in some respects, and went on to achieve Super Bowl glory.

The 69-year-old Coughlin, who resigned on Monday after 12 years in charge of the Giants, gave a rousing farewell address to a packed news conference on Tuesday that appropriately began five minutes before schedule.

"I've changed and I've grown and I've developed and I've learned," Coughlin said about his tenure with the Giants. "You better do that or you're dead. So I've done that. I'm better for it."

Facing pressure from ownership in 2006 to right the ship after an 8-8 season, Coughlin established a players' council to serve as a sounding board and improved communication helped bond team and coach in a charge to a Super Bowl title in 2007.   Continued...

Jan 5, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;  New York Giants former head coach Tom Coughlin addresses the media during a press conference at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports