Tom Coughlin’s Memoir of the New York Giants 2006 Super Bowl Season

Tom Coughlin’s memoir of the New York Giants 2006 season and win over the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII could have been a lot more than it is.  Like the public persona of the coach, it lacks a bit of personality and inside information that football fans are looking for.  I did find it worthwhile reading, anyway.

This book functions as a mini autobiography of Coughlin’s coaching career and the high pressure and long hours it requires to be a successful coach in the National Football League.  One of the better features of the book is learning about his coaching pedigree and his discussion of how he had to loosen up a little bit with the New York Giants, who as most recall, were seemingly in near mutiny of Coughlin’s old school rules and discipline.

And while Coughlin does a good job with the above, his recounting of the season and the Giants team is often devoid of personality and inside information about how the team overcame some of the squabbling and questions about leadership to go on their improbable run to a Super Bowl victory.  He certainly plays lip service to the quiet leadership skills of the oft criticized Eli Manning and his rocky but repaired relationship with older players like Michael Strahan, but it more reportorial than emotional engaging.

There also is little about football strategy and X’s and O’s in this book, which is fine as I didn’t expect much.  But for an avid football fan like myself that always adds a great deal to a book about football.

Despite these drawbacks, I am sure New York Giants fans will enjoy this look back at the season from Coughlin’s perspective.  I would not, however, recommend this to the casual football fan.

A Team to Believe In: Our Journey to the Super Bowl Championship

1942 Chicago Bears and 2007 New England Patriots

This won’t make Patriots fans feel any better but consider this.

The 1942 Chicago Bears lost the NFL Championship to the Washington Redskins 14-6.

The Chicago Bears of that year had the best offense AND defense in the NFL.  They set the then NFL scoring record with 376 points and held opponents to the fewest points of any other team in the NFL at 84.

They went 11-0 during the regular season, and get this, were on an 18 game winning streak dating back to the previous season.  And they were said to have not just beaten opponents that year but generally decimated them. Some odds makers had the Redskins as 22 point underdogs.

In the game, the Bears offense did not score a point. Their only score came on a fumble returned for a TD (kick failed).  And the Redskins defensive line evidently played a phenomenal game and had a goal line stand during the game.

One of the Redskins touchdowns came on a pass reception by Redskin back Wilbur Moore (thrown by Sammy Baugh) that was described as a “breathtaking, over-the-helmet catch in stride while tumbling into the end zone,” while a defender was draped across his back.

Sound familiar?

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A Patriots Fan One Week Later

A week later. The Patriots have lost Super Bowl XLII 17-14 to the New York Giants, missing the chance to complete a perfect 19-0 season and win its fourth Super Bowl in seven years. And this in the face of a ridiculous amount of negativity toward the team, mostly because of jealousy over their success.

After reflecting on the loss for a week it is clear that this is the worst, most demoralizing defeat in franchise history. It is a loss that as a fan I’ll never truly get over, mostly because of what was at stake. And more so because of the way we lost it, on a crazy, miraculous, last two minute plus drive that saw the Giants convert a 4th and 1, Asante Samuel miss an interception, and the crazy play that will go down in the annuals of pro football history – the scramble out of a sack by Eli Manning and truly unbelievable catch by David Tyree securing the ball on his helmet. I will see that last Giants drive in my nightmares for the rest of my life. And poor Rodney Harrison will be in highlight reels for eternity, unable to knock the ball out of Tyree’s hands.

It is so hard to get to the Super Bowl so every opportunity a team has, especially a team that played the best in the regular season and is favored to win, needs to be seized. It may be the last for many, many years to come. You just never know. This could be the last time we ever see Tom Brady in a Super Bowl. I hope not, but you just never know.

Being a die hard New England Patriots fan who suffered through a good team in the late 1970s but never quite making it, the debacle of Super Bowl XX and the team’s implosion within a few years thereafter, the 1-15 team, the unfulfilled promise of Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcels, and the big step backward under Pete Carroll, the recent run of success has been very fulfilling and exciting. This loss certainly won’t dim that. Not in the least. It’s been a great run and one I’ll cherish. But the lost opportunity to make history will sting forever.

Now some facts that make me feel better about this team but a little sorry for others.

Tom Brady has won three Super Bowls. Only Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana have won more, at four. And only one other quarterback has won three, Troy Aikman of the 1990 Dallas Cowboys, a wildly talented team.

Dan Marino was in one Super Bowl and lost it to the Redskins. He never played in another.

Other than this loss, the most heartbreaking Super Bowl for a fan had to be the missed field goal that cost the Buffalo Bills a win in Super Bowl XXV that they lost 20-19 to the New York Giants (and Bill Parcels with Bill Belichick as defensive coordinator). They lost three more in a row in blow outs.

Maybe the greatest team of all time, the 1985 Chicago Bears, were one and done.

Brett Farve has won only one Super Bowl.

John Elway only won two, even though he was in five.

Given this, the Patriots of the 2000s stack up rather well.