In an emotional farewell to the New York Giants, departing coach Tom Coughlin talked about things that matter to him: values, relationships, character, loyalty, team, family and love. He guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Coughlin didn’t fade away in his goodbye to the New York Giants.
In an emotional and poignant farewell Tuesday, the 69-year-old who guided the Giants to two Super Bowl victories in his 12-year tenure talked about things that matter to him: values, relationships, character, loyalty, team, family and love.
“I can tell you right now it has become the source of drive for me, is that when our players, whether they’re in their career, after their career, when they come back to me and they say: ‘Coach, I love you,’ ” Coughlin said. “They follow that up by saying they’ve become better men, better husbands, better fathers, better friends because of their experience having been a New York Giant.”
Speaking a day after stepping down as coach after four straight seasons out of the playoffs, Coughlin called the Giants’ job a dream come true for a youngster from a small town in upstate New York. He nearly broke into tears thanking his wife, Judy, for being his quarterback through the ride.
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Coughlin surprised no one in saying his coaching career might not be over. He still has competitive fire.
Coughlin sounded as if he were addressing a congregation during his 18 minutes on stage, stressing the values of winning the right way, building character and preparing players for life after football.
“I don’t know if I’m any different,” Coughlin said. “I’ve changed and I’ve grown and I’ve developed and I’ve learned. You better do that or you’re dead. So I’ve done that. I’m better for it. I’m better for the experiences that I’ve had. I’m better for the people that I’ve had a chance to coach and be with. I’m better for that.”
Quarterback Eli Manning and fellow current Giants Victor Cruz, Rashad Jennings, Zak DeOssie and Mark Herzlich were among those sitting in front of Coughlin.
On Monday, some players said they failed their coach. Coughlin was moved by the comments, and he took time to address Manning, who joined the Giants the same year as he did.
“He thinks he’s the reason. He’s not the reason,” Coughlin said. “Eli, it’s not you … it’s us. We win, we lose together. When we lose, I lose. When we win, you guys win. That’s the way it is. That’s the game.”
Coughlin posted a 110-93 record with the Giants, including postseason games.
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