For a guy with a Super Bowl ring and four playoff appearances in six seasons, Tom Coughlin sure does spend a lot of time on the hot seat.
Following a disappointing 1-2 start for the New York Giants, there's once again chatter that Coughlin will be fired at the end of the season and replaced with a high-profile coach who will save the franchise and undoubtedly lead it to undefeated records, multiple Super Bowl victories and maybe even a World Series to boot. This time Coughlin's rumored replacement is Bill Cowher, who reportedly is interested in the Giants job should Coughlin get fired at the end of the year.
If this sounds familiar, it's because similar stories have been floating around since almost the instant Coughlin was hired back in 2004:
September 24, 2004:
The Giants won their home opener yesterday.
Now the question for Tom Coughlin is whether this victory is a step toward repairing a ruptured relationship with some of his players. Or will Coughlin, the Giants' first-year coach, see the 20-14 victory over Washington as vindication of his bulldozing approach to recasting the team as a winner?
-- Bill Rhoden, The New York Times
December 28, 2004:
Giants co-owner Wellington Mara had little sympathy for the unnamed players who came out in a metropolitan tabloid Sunday to blast coach Tom Coughlin's unyielding management style. And it's a good bet that he won't abide by one of the player's urgings to "Fire him now."
-- Ernie Palladino, The Journal News
December 25, 2006:
Tom Coughlin came in preaching discipline and promising to restore Giants pride. He was the right choice three years ago to save what John Mara called a "franchise in trouble."
It hasn't worked. The storied franchise is in trouble again. Coughlin must go.
Mara and Steve Tisch, the co-owners, need to find out what it will take to get Charlie Weis out of his Notre Dame contract. The Coughlin Era should be in its final days.
-- Gary Myers, New York Daily News
January 9, 2007:
Tom Coughlin was fired before Sunday's Giants-Eagles wild-card kickoff.
Terry Bradshaw and his Fox Sports colleagues wielded the ax ...
... "He (Coughlin) is fired. He's fired," Bradshaw said.
-- Bob Raissman, New York Daily News
February 16, 2007:
Three days after their playoff loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants announced that they would retain coach Tom Coughlin for the 2007 season. It was a surprising decision and one that disappointed many fans who were upset by the step backward the Giants took under Coughlin in 2006.
And it's a decision that the Giants should reconsider now that a better coach has become available. The San Diego Chargers fired coach Marty Schottenheimer this week despite a 14-2 record last season, and if the Giants are truly dedicated to improving on their 8-8 record, they should fire Coughlin and hire Schottenheimer to take his place.
-- Michael David Smith, New York Sun
You'll pardon us if we're not readying "Big Chin in the Big Apple" headlines quite yet. The Giants haven't looked good en route to that 1-2 start, but Coughlin has shown that he's nothing if not resilient.
The last time the Giants started 1-2 was in 2007 and, at that time, the vultures were circling the Meadowlands waiting for Coughlin's inevitable termination. Four months later, he was hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy.