TOM COUGHLIN, THE PEOPLE’S COACH

Most of us can relate to Tom.

In spite of obvious ability, hard work and past achievements, poor Tom always seems to be on the hot seat.

Things just seem to find a way to go against him. Player injuries, strange losing streaks, player dissension are common for every NFL team. But for Tom it always seems to be a little worse. Its like the guy just can’t get ahead. The least you can say is that he seems to have to work harder than everyone else. He knows he can’t leave anything to chance because no one is going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Things don’t come easy for Coach Coughlin
He wasn’t a child coaching prodigy. He had to work his way up the coaching ranks from the bottom one tough step at the time. He was overlooked and taken for granted. Over a long time he developed a great reputation. Only through tons of hard and extra work did he move up and reach the point where he could even interview for head coaching job. At 49 he finally got his chance and was hired to be the first coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars. In 7 years he took this expansion team to 2 AFC Championship games. His reward for this incredible achievement? Fired. 

Most of us can relate to his struggles
We go through life and see the breaks go against us. We find ourselves often ignored, past over and taken for granted. So much of our life seems like it’s tied up in grinding out work that no one notices or appreciates. We keep ourselves on track doing the quiet, thankless jobs that we know are important but we don’t ever see it pay off in anything big for us. Also no matter how much effort we put into our work it often seems like it’s not good enough.

The few times we have pulled off some great achievement and gotten recognized – finally – the moment is quickly forgotten by those in authority. In no time at all it seems like it never happened. We are still treated like we are just faces in the crowd. 

Tom is always on the hot seat
He took over as head coach of the New York Giants in 2004, inheriting a 4-12 team. He quietly went to work to turn things around. Four years later the Giants won the Super Bowl in one of the biggest upsets ever! But amazingly he still has been on the hot seat constantly ever since. You have to assume he works hard and takes his job seriously but when his team gets hit with injuries, bad play by key players or any of the hundreds of things that happen to a football team to create slumps, immediately there are calls for his job. It’s like overnight it’s all his fault because he’s no longer good enough. He can’t reach today’s players, he can’t relate, he doesn’t have charisma, he doesn’t have good enough coaches, etc. Result? Tom is always on the hot seat.

But how does Tom respond? Like you do.
He knows no one feels sorry for him. He keeps his head down. He keeps working. He keeps encouraging his team. He keeps looking for ways to improve. He keeps believing things will work out if he keeps working. He keeps believing that the odds will even out over the long haul if he stays on track. He keeps believing his luck will turn for the better. And the amazing thing is that they do. His teams are tough. You can never count them out. Just when the criticism is the loudest and people have totally given up on his team they come back strong and surprise everyone. This year is no exception. They had such a mid season slump many felt Tom would be fired before the season ended. Tom kept working. He kept the team focused and improving. Result? THEY ARE IN THE SUPER BOWL! They didn’t quit, they kept fighting and the results eventually started to show.

Tom has a style we can relate to
He isn’t known as a genius. He’s not a celebrity. He doesn’t dominate television with commercials and appearances on talk shows. He just works hard and keeps on working hard  even when faced with withering criticism or disastrous results. He keeps the faith. He keeps moving forward. He knows hard work can overcome almost all obstacles. He doesn’t make excuses. He doesn’t blame others. He just works…..and because of that he eventually wins!

Tom Coughlin’s  example of winning primarily through toughness and hard work is an example for us all. We can relate to his struggles. He is the “People’s Coach!”

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