In the NFL, 31 teams lose and 1 team wins. You have to have a blueprint. At the end of the 2006 season, the Giants eroded due to many reasons. One of them was that the players were NOT playing for Coughlin. To be fair, Coughlin reminds us of the injuries to Strahan (Lisfranc) and (a rising) Tuck. I was on record saying that the Giants needed to get rid of Coughlin because he had 3 years and his Jacksonville ways HAD NOT CHANGED.
1) Tiki Barber asked Coughlin for easier practices in Nov and Dec. His body was beat up. Be fair to a warrior who had ~ 10K yards rushing, 5K yards receiving and 2K yards on special teams. Old Coughlin's answer? No. Tiki's answer- I'm outta here.
In walks John Mara, Coughlin has to change to save his job, he changes. The rest is history. Plaxico Burress noted that as a direct result of these council meetings, players voiced dissatisfaction (video minute 1:20) with the length and severity of practices in November and December. Players were tired and all of the work during the week left them without enough energy on the weekend, ESPECIALLY AS THE SEASON WORE ON. Rule #19. Coughlin listened. The Giants were not road warriors in 2007 by accident. They had energy left in the tank on Sunday and played like it. Especially on the road.
This would have never happened to Coughlin in Jacksonville or Coughlin in NY from 2004-2006. Now the Giants had the POSSIBILITY of a title in 2007.
Do you think this is something new, that Tiki was the first to complain about this? Tiki saw first hand how Fassel, for all of Gentleman Jim's shortcomings, was responsive to his players, went easy on them as the season wore on, the teams he coached responded to him and did really well in December (until that last of 7 seasons, of course). This was where the Rule came from.
2) It does not surprise this blogger that just yesterday we get the revelation from Jamal Lewis in Cleveland that Mangini is working the team too hard in the middle of the week. Sound familiar? Giants fans may not appreciate what Barber has done after leaving the field, but his heart was in the right place. He was playing for an ogre.
3) Paul W., a lifelong Browns fan and visitor to this blog, shares some reminiscences from his youth:
So we find out that this thing about listening to your players has been going on for a little longer than Barber and Lewis. Coaches are afraid to give up that ironclad authority. At all costs?