With all-time NFL sack leader Michael Strahan stepping down, the title of best football Giant should probably go to one of his defensive mates, like media-hating, horn-blowing Antonio Pierce or on-the-verge-of-being-a-star Justin Tuck. Given that he finally started playing efficiently and mixed in a few above-average performances, you might also be able to make the case that Eli Manning should be recognizedbut lets wait to see if he can do it again. Its easy to forget now that through the first half of last year, rabid Giants fans were screaming for Mannings head. But with the Giants winning their first Super Bowl since 1991, the nod this year goes to coach Tom Coughlin. Crusty and old-school, Coughlin could do little right with the average Giants fan for his first three years in town. His coaching life was hanging by a thread at the end of the 2006 season, when his team lost six of its last eight games and were bounced in the first playoff round by arch-rival Philadelphia. But Coughlin never lost the faith of his core players, including Strahan, Manning, and Pierce, who called Coughlin the real deal. The Giants werent the best team in the league, but they caught fire at the right time. And when it counted most, Coughlin did the unthinkable: He out-coached New Englands mastermind, Bill Belichick. For that, Coughlin gets another reprieve.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 15, 2008