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New York Giants’ Coaching Tree Has Many Branches Across NFL

December 9th, 2012 at 6:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

'Vince Lombardi' photo (c) 2009, Jim Bowen - license: To know the G-Men is to love them. To really have knowledge of the New York Football Giants is to also realize that the Big Blue branches reach far beyond the organization itself.

Last post-season, late owner Wellington Mara’s wife Ann Mara passed a humorous comment during her stay near Green Bay, Wisconsin for the New York Giants versus Green Bay Packers in the NFC Divisional round of the 2011 playoffs.

"Let me tell you about Green Bay," she said. "This is before we even got to the stadium on Lombardi Ave., before it was Lombardi this and Lombardi that. This was at the hotel the night before [in Appleton, Wis.]. They even had a Lombardi Steakhouse, with a letter from my husband framed on the wall. All this Lombardi around you, no matter where you turned, and all I could think was, Vinny used to sleep on our couch!’… 1040 Park Ave. We didn't know at the time we had an immortal sleeping on the hideaway."

Love that woman. And the fact that she recognizes roots. She was referring to the fact that the infamous Vince Lombardi started his NFL career as a New York Giant (offensive coordinator).

Parity keeps the NFL fresh in a CBA-like sense of the word. However, contracts and players, coaches, scouts, and general managers moving on creates the opposite. Teams begin to adopt a bit of a shell from another because of this and also take with them valuable knowledge of their former team.

Since the Giants are one of the oldest franchises standing, there are more leaves on those legendary Big Blue branches. Ask the average Dallas Cowboys fan about Tom Landry – guaranteed that they don’t even mention his defensive coordinator position with the Giants alongside Lombardi.

Currently, former Giants make up many of the coaches that are still active: Tom Coughlin, Bill Belichick, Sean Payton, John Fox, Jason Garrett…and then there are assistant coaches.

This won’t change Sunday with current Saints defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo coming back to New York. Spags is himself, a former Giant and still breathes respect for them.

"They're a good football team. It's a great challenge, they are the defending Super Bowl champs and until somebody else becomes the Super Bowl champion, it's them. I have a lot of respect and admiration for Coach (Tom) Coughlin and what he's done there, what all of the coaches have done there. It's kind of like when I was in New York and we used to play Philadelphia and going back and playing somebody you really know and care for. It's like playing your brother. Sometimes you compete harder when you go out on the basketball court and battle and compete against your brother. This is a game we need. We know what's at stake…no matter what; it's going to be two good football teams going head-to-head on Sunday."

That respect is a two-way street and the Giants are not accepting stats as part of why they should walk out with an easy win against the Saints’ defense that’s improving.

"It's a tough system," MLB Chase Blackburn, stated. "It's a really good system, but it takes time to get it right."

Of course, Coughlin knows and reiterates.

"I would imagine it's the same thing that took place there (the improvement)," Tom Coughlin said, referring to how Spags’ defense started out with blue to the 2012 Saints’. “The only thing I'll say about their defensive team is in their loss the other day to Atlanta, they held Atlanta to 283 yards. I understand all the discussions about their defense, their stats and all that stuff, but I'll tell you, they play hard. They have good, talented people. They have definitely improved and they are a physical outfit."

Slight edge may go to Tom Coughlin and his New York Giants on the road of familiarity, but the unknown is also a factor that will come into play Sunday evening. The NFC team that comes out ready for that (while playing closest to flawless football) should be the victor.


Tags: Ann Mara, Bill Belichick, Football, Jason Garrett, John Fox, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Sean Payton, Steve Spagnuolo, Tom Coughlin, Wellington Mara

47 Responses to “New York Giants’ Coaching Tree Has Many Branches Across NFL”

  1.  James Stoll says:

    So here we are at the crossroads of the season. Big big opportunity for Blue. A win today, especially if coupled with Washington and Dallas losses, and last week will be erased from memory and largely from significance. Also a big opportunity to exorcise one of our remaining ghosts. The Saints have beaten the Giants 3 straight dating back to 2006, none of them close. 2006 – 30-7; 2009 – 48-27; 2011 – 49-24.
    Three straight brutal blowouts. A victory today would relegate those games to old history and set the team on a course to the playoffs.
    It’s all right there for the taking and given what the Giants were able to do against SF and GB this season, it should be possible.
    Let’s go Blue!

    •  Dirt says:

      A win today, after getting mushroom stamped time and time again would be the final pelt for this team. They’ve beaten the unbeatable 49ers. They’ve beaten the unbeatable Packers. They’ve beaten the unbeatable Patriots.

      They’ve beaten every elite quarterback alive (sans Peyton Manning, who never gets in their way anyway) except for one: Drew Brees.

      I think if that happens, they walk off the field as confident as ever. Knowing that when they show up, they win.

      The good news is, like I felt against Green Bay, and not like I felt against Washington, I’m confident today.

      Give me 34-20. G-Men.

  2.  Nosh.0 says:

    Good article Jen.

    Just want to add to the last two days discussion about our coaching staff. First, I really like Coughlin and other than a handful of coaches (Jon Fox long time man crush, Bellicheck the coach, not the G.M., maybe Harbuagh although he’s such a d.#..c_K, and Gruden, who I think would take Eli to new heights) there’s nobody I’d rather have running our team.

    My point with the expectation of making the playoffs every year has everything to do with our QB. Franchise QB’s are so hard to find that when you do finally get one, they open a window of opportunity that most teams don’t have. To not make the playoffs with a franchise QB, in his prime years no less, is to throw away an opportunity that very few NFL teams get.

    This is a coach/QB league. And the way I see it is you have only 2 QB’s in the NFC on Eli’s level (Rodgers and Brees), none of which play in our division. So at the end of the day I expect our elite coach and QB to make the playoffs. Every year.

    As I wrote friday, the question of greatness is one that’s not answered once or twice and then it’s decided. Each new season at some point the football gods go around and ask teams how good they are. They don’t care what you have or haven’t done in the past. Right now the football gods are asking the 2012 NYG how good they are. Specifically the coach and the QB. “Hey Eli, Tom, are you guys still great? Are you still elite?” Well then prove it and make the playoffs.

    •  James Stoll says:

      Nosh. I think you overlook and hence under estimate the power of the double agent known as Kevin Gilbride.
      He will do all in his power to bring Eli to the edge of greatness only to thwart him inside the 20

      •  GIANTT says:

        Jim , you started out so positive I had to look outside to see if the sky was falling but then you restored my faith in your New England stoicism . However , I will not be deterred . I will remain O and foresee a big game by Eli in a wind and rain swept Met Life
        Stadium as the gathering gloom foretells the end of the Saints run to the playoffs and then a faint glimmer of light (which turns out to be the reflection from FF55ys ring) shows the way for the Giants to make an uprecedented run to the Super Bowl once more.
        big win today !

        •  James Stoll says:

          Can’t help it, every time I think of The Genius guiding our offense I just want to jump off a cliff!

  3.  GOAT56 says:

    It’s disappointing to read the comments on this site. Some fans here really are so negative that you would think we were the fanbase of another NFC east team. Look things aren’t perfect and we certainly blew a golden chance to have a strangle hold of the division. But we still are in first place. While we have are inconsistencies the teams we are battling have their flaws as well. I’m not saying there shouldn’t be concern but by reading some posts it seems like a thought we would be lucky to win the division.

    F55 – you made a point about the redskins (I will add cowboys too since everyone seems to forget they are 6-6 too) losing could hurt us. I agree. That’s what has always concerned me about this game because I expect Bmore to win. I almost feel like it some ways I rather at least Dallas win or Dal and/or Wash games that go deep into overtime.

    I think one thing that everyone should understand from the blown 21 point lead vs Philly to the SB run last year this season is far from being settled.

    •  James Stoll says:

      Goat. The reason fans are so negative is that we’ve seen this script before, 9 times in fact. Most times it ends badly.
      Moreover, we all “think” we have an elite QB, 2 of the leagues best WRs, and the best D-Line one could imagine. And yet we sit precariously close to .500 with a tough schedule to finish and playing poorly more often than well

      Yeah we might go on another remarkable run, but the way we are playing the odds aren’t good
      And you can only go to the miracle well so many times

      •  GIANTT says:

        Jim , again you are wavering ” Yeah we might go on another remarkable run ”
        I like to think that as a FAN that my team above all logic wil do it again

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Jim, let’s not get carried away on the river of doubt. There’s no question that Eli Manning is an elite quarterback and Hakeem Nicks is an elite wide receiver, that Victor Cruz had an “elite” year last season and is approaching elite status if not yet there, and no question that when our D-line chooses to show up they are an elite unit.

        That does not mean that every elite player plays like it every game (the Montanas, Elways, Paytons, rices, etc. of the world had bad games), or that those elite players can always carry their teams to victory.

        As far as the nine years of TC’s regime, the team he took over was not ready to compete at the top of the league and then when Eli came in there was going to be a 2-3 year maturation process required (remember, the NFL had not yet made it almost impossible to touch the QB or his receivers at that time….it is easier now for rookie QBs to come in and play well). From 2007 forward you CANNOT be unhappy with this team. They didn’t rely on miracles. They relied on making more plays than the other guy. Just remember, two rings in five years and still in contention for a third in six years. That is fantastic and those who cannot recognize it are impoverished.

    •  GIANTT says:

      GOAT , I agree with you , we see far too much negativism on here . You know what ?
      to h-ll with them , they are missing the joy of being a fan of a better than average team who has taken us all to the Super Bowl ( I just corrected an error I actually typed Super Bowel – any shrinks out there want to analyze that ? ) . To comment on Mr Stoll “weve seen this script before ” Yes we have and twice in the last few years the Giants have won a Super Bowl with this script so Im willing to take it as it is

  4.  fanfor55years says:

    Good piece, but Vince Lombardi “infamous”? Maybe in Dallas but I think he’s thought of pretty positively everywhere else.

    I like our chances in this game, but no matter what happens, this is when the NFL season becomes truly great. You get into December and a lot of teams are jostling for playoff entries or seeding, most teams have suffered injuries of varying degrees, most fan bases are starting to chew their nails and turn on each other and their coaches, and you start to see over the horizon and discern which teams “have it” that year and which don’t. I love this stuff.

    This is when teams that have been shuffling a bit either make the big play they need or don’t. Just look back to the Giants’ situation 30 seconds before Eli and Cruz hooked up on that 91-yard play against the Jets last season. A reasonable pessimist would have been saying to himself/herself “This team is done. What stupid game plans. These coaches blow.” C’mon, you know who you are. More than half of you out there were despairing of the Giants’ chances. They were being kicked all over the field by the mouthy Jets. Their season was teetering. They were backed up against their own end zone and likely to have to punt and give the Jets great field position, and then in one moment, out of nowhere, they made a great play that turned their entire season, and the narrative of the past five years, around.

    We are likely to see big plays made today, by one team or another. Both teams desperately need this game. Both teams are good (the Saints got out of the gate poorly but a lot of that was affected by the absence of Payton, and they have been dangerous since). Both teams have injured players, although the Giants are missing more than the Saints. Both teams should be well-prepared. This is the kind of game that, as a fan, you hope for: really meaningful games in December that test the mettle of your team.

    How many other fan bases get to see a game played by their defending champion team in December that has such dramatic consequences and could give them a shove toward a serious defense of their title? Yeah, that’s right. So we should all revel in what could be a great game. I cannot wait to get out there to see it.

    •  James Stoll says:

      I was one, and you know what? For 14 games and 1 quarter we did blow. Just like for 12 games this season we have mostly, not always, but mostly, stunk. But a W today, especially with a Washington loss, and all is right with the universe.
      Cannthey do it? Sure!
      Will they do it? Based on how they’ve played to date, and what Brees has done to us the past 5 years, you have to be worried.
      People say the Saints defense sucks; so does ours. Our vaunted pass rush has been mostly non-existent this year. Our LBs are typically invisible. Our seconday erratic and decimated with injuries. Our special team’s are once again hit and miss in coverage and non-existent in returns. Our offense moves the ball all over the field but can’t finish inside the 20. And Eli has just been a little off all season.
      So we can do it, but based on what we’ve seen, it looks dicey right now.

      •  fanfor55years says:

        Worried? Yes. Already ready to concede that the team stinks? No. It has been an up-and-down season but more ups than downs. And we are just now in the part of the season where the men separate from the boys. Let’s see what happens out there today in the rain. Then we can all start to figure out which way the season is going. No one knows.

        Games like this one are those the players live for. They know that none of us know what it’s really like down there in the trenches and running the routes and throwing those balls. Some of us have played ball, many haven’t. But even if you played at college, these guys might as well be an alien species because what they do is so far beyond what any of us can imagine that we can only dimly perceive what is going on. They just know they have to go out and find a way to win against an opponent who feels exactly the same and is damned good.

        I love this stuff. we all should. Win or lose, it’s why we justifiably adore the NFL and the Giants.

  5.  Krow says:

    We’re not the only talented squad in the NFL. Every year isn’t going to be ‘our’ year. I agree that we should be able to make the playoffs. And yes, we certainly seem adept at squandering opportunities. But good teams miss the playoffs … and great teams don’t always win the Superbowl. The NFL is an exercise in parity.

  6.  demo3356 says:

    LOL, we have some spoiled whiny a** fans on this site.. Cant wait to bend over and grab the old ankles.. You’d think after winning more Superbowls under Coughlins reign than ANY OTHER TEAM in the NFL that we would have some faith and try to give the boys the benefit of the doubt.. But NOOOOOOOOOOOOO we want to menstruate about the fact that in a parity driven league, we dont dominate EVERY Single year.. Never mind the fact that NOBODY in todays NFL does and never mind the fact that there are only 2 active Multiple Lombardi winners at the QB/ HC combo and when facing each other the Giants are 2-0. Lets all question our coaching staff and players EVERY time we lose a few games. Thank Goodness for posters Like Goat, Luzz, Grateful, FF55yrs, Giant and surprisingly Krow for appreciating this team and not being whiny little biatches every time things get rough. For the rest of you spoiled, entitled little panzies, The collective fan base of the Bills, Jets, Dolphins, Bengals, Browns, Ravens, Titans, Jags, Texans, Raiders, Chiefs, Chargers, Broncos Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, Vikings, Lions, Bears, Panthers, Falcons, Bucs, Cardinals, Rams, 49ers and Sea hawks all say HI and that they would love to trade places with any of you jack wagons that dont appreciate what you have.. You know why? Because since Eli and TC took over the reigns of this team, those 26 teams HAVEN’T WON SH*T WHILE THE NYG HAS HOISTED 2 F*CKIN LOMBARDIS!!!!!!!! But by all means, keep talking about how more often than not things dont end well for the Giants under Coughlin..

    •  kujo says:


      We’re gonna question Coughlin AGAIN? Really? After last year, and every year preceding? It’s fine to disagree with decisions TC and his staff make, but disagreeing with TC doesn’t mean they’re incompetent losers. People are irrational sometimes. Losses do that to the weak hearted.

      •  demo3356 says:

        It’s truly mind numbing.. time for folks to sack up and get behind this group that has bought us so much joy and proven so many doubters wrong.. If you cant than get the Phuck out and go root for the Jets, That team is deserving of those types of sackless heartless fans..

  7.  kujo says:

    Matchup nightmare.

    Our premium safety and WR are seriously hobbled.

    The defense was exploited, again, last week by a fast-paced offense different but similar to the one we face today (quick passes designed to neutralize our pass rush).

    Our offense continues to find itself unable to score inside the 20, having lost its go-to running back to injury.

    Questions about our “identity” and “toughness.”

    38-17 Saints.

    24-20 Ravens

    17-10 Cowboys.

    (We lose the game but don’t lose ground in the NFC East. See? I’m not TOO negative.)

    •  demo3356 says:

      It is a matchup nightmare, especially in the dome on that fast track, but I like our chances outside a lot more. Very concerned about not having KP or a healthy Nicks, but they can over come that by getting Wilson more involved on O and getting in Brees face on D. A bit of a stretch on the comparison of Saints O and Redskins O as they couldn’t be more of a polar opposite. One is a run first option read that passes only enough to keep D honest, the other is a spread the field and throw the ball all over the friggan place and only run enough to keep D honest. Also if Cowboys win how do we not lose ground in East? We would be in second place if that happened..

      •  kujo says:

        Meant to type Bengals. My bad.

        Yeah the weather ain’t gonna be great up there today, but I still think the philosophy of that offense–quick rhythm passes setting up the deep ball–have been our kryptonite for the last decade, and the location of this game won’t change that. We could win, but I really doubt it.

        •  Valid says:

          Don’t discount the possibility of Eli absolutely shredding that defense as well. If we do lose, I think it’ll be close, something like 34-31. I don’t think we’ll get blown out at home.

        •  demo3356 says:

          You mean like Green Bay Kujo?

          •  kujo says:

            Never said I was flawless :)

            I think that the Saints have more offensive weapons today than Green Bay does on virtually any day. That’s not to say they’re a better team than the Packers, but I think they’re deeper on offense than the Packers, and certainly have more firepower than the Packers team we saw a few weeks ago.

            •  demo3356 says:

              They do indeed, but what they dont have is a mobile QB that can make plays in the pocket. In the past Brees kliled us because he sat behind the best OL in the NFL. After losing Nicks to the Bucs and having several other OL get banged up he is much less comfy back there. If we can ge some pressure on him we have a very good shot,

              •  demo3356 says:

                *outside the pocket

              •  kujo says:

                Excellent point.

                If we can get interior pressure, I will definitely be wrong. But I don’t know whether or not our DL will “show up,” as the saying goes.

                Hey, we are a better team. You can certainly make a good case for why we should win, and I will agree with almost all of that case. I’m just suspicious and doubtful that we will somehow erase years and years of being beaten by that quasi West Coast Offense.

                •  demo3356 says:

                  They have certainly had our number thats for sure. I can remember 5 Games vs them in the last ten years and the only one that didnt end with s getting mounted was the MNF game after Katrina that the Saints “Hosted” in the meadow lands. Other than that there was the
                  Joe Horn Cell Phone Blowout in 03
                  The Christmas Eve Massacre in 06
                  The Pounding in 09 that ended our 5-0 start and began the 3-7 finish
                  The Forcible Sodomy that happened last year on MNF that was low point of season
                  So there is def cause for concern, I just like our chances better outdoors in the cold with the Saints season pretty much over. I’d like it a lot more if Phillips was healthy and JPP didn’t run his pie hole about Brees

  8.  Valid says:

    This is our best opportunity to create some separation in the division the rest of the way, as this is the last time the Redskins and Cowboys will both be playing tough games during the same week (unless you can’t their Week 17 matchup against one another, but that game will most likely be meaningless for at least one of the two teams).

    A win today coupled with Washington and Dallas losses pretty much gives us the division title. The good news is, the Giants will likely know what they’re up against at kickoff, as the ‘Skins and ‘Boys both play at 1:00.

    Giants win 34-20 and the Redskins and Cowboys both lose.

    •  demo3356 says:

      That would be phenomenal and coupled with some other losses could lead the giants to playing a Baltimore and Eagle team without much to play for in the final two games

      •  Valid says:


        And it’s not like this is just complete wishful thinking on my part, either. That scenario could absolutely be the case at the end of today.

        •  demo3356 says:

          It could, The Bengals are red hot and the Cowboy defense is all banged to hell. The Ravens defense could give RG3 some trouble and the Saints are not the same Saints, but we both know that would make things too easy and the NYG dont like easy

  9.  fanfor55years says:

    I think people need to understand that a generally accepted goal around the league (since the imposition of the cap) is a Lombardi Trophy every DECADE. That is what owners and General Managers hope to achieve. That puts you in the “top third” of the NFL, should mean that you field reasonably competitive teams, and that you give your fans a reason to hope and financially support the team.

    The elite franchises probably expect to achieve that goal and strive for at least one additional ring in a decade. There are, right now, very few “elite” franchises: the Patriots, the Giants, the Steelers, and the Packers. Jerry Jones would like to think anyone should add Dallas to that, but until he steps aside as GM he’s wrong.

    The rest of the teams in the league would be doing somersaults about meeting that once per decade goal, and most have not. But look at the Giants. Since Pete Rozelle stepped in and insisted the Mara family stop acting like children and hire George Young to be their GM, the Giants have a title in the 1980′s, 1990′s, the 2000′s, and the 2010′s. And they have eight seasons to go before they reach next decade and will travel that path with an elite quarterback, giving them an real chance to get additional rings. In short, we are very, very, fortunate fans. We’ve seen plenty of downs, a lot of highs, a lot of great players and big games, and three titles out of four that were so deeply satisfying because they were achieved in the face of immense doubt, making them that much sweeter. Only the 1986 championship was anything close to “routine”, and even that one required knocking off the Big, Bad Montana-led 49ers in a game that many thought could not be won.

    Keep some perspective and this game today can be pleasurable rather than anxiety-provoking. It’s all part of a process and the Giants are already winners along that path. As fans, we are playing with house money.

  10.  Krow says:

    One of the things we should realize … is that we’re dragging the post-Superbowl schedule around on our backs … while the best QB in the history of football, RG3, has the last place one.

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