If there’s one thing we know about Tom Coughlin, it’s that his old-school tactics are not for everyone. During his day, the now 74-year-old Coughlin was one hell of a football coach, leading the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories over his 12 years at the helm in East Rutherford. Yet, despite accumulating mountains of success throughout his career, T.C.’s style ruffled the feathers of even his most prominent players.
From Tiki Barber dubbing his former coach a “pain in the ass” during a 2016 monologue on his CBS Sports Radio program to Michael Strahan admitting to FOX Sports in 2017 that he and his teammates straight-up “hated” Coughlin for a moment of time, the militant-like approach of the Giants’ Ring of Honor inductee has readily been a lightning rod for criticism.
Ultimately, Coughlin eased his foot off the pedal, helping alleviate tensions between him and the Giants locker room, leading to superior on-field success. However, when Coughlin stepped away from coaching to man an exec role with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2017, his style was once again met with disdain from players — arguably more so than ever before.
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Jalen Ramsey: ‘We Didn’t Like Tom Coughlin’
The initial success of Coughlin’s return to his Jacksonville roots was profound. The team reached the AFC Championship game during his inaugural season on the job — the franchise’s deepest playoff run since Coughlin led the Jags to the conference championship in 1999 as their head coach. However, his second tenure in Duval quickly fizzled out, as he was relieved of his duties in mid-December of 2019 following an NFLPA grievance stemming from an abundance of player complaints.
“To be honest, we didn’t like Tom Coughlin. That’s what it came down to,” ex-Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey said on the Catchin’ Fades with Aqib Talib podcast. “That was his first year in there and we were a sorry team the year before. We went from having a relaxed coaching staff that let us be adults and live our lives, and just kind of be who we were. But we were too young for that at the time. We were too young a team to know how to really treat that. So we took advantage of that and that’s why we weren’t good.”
“When they brought in Coughlin, he went complete opposite. It felt like…even worse than college at times,” Ramsey added. “We felt like half the stuff he was trying to implement wasn’t even about football. You have to wear white socks. It doesn’t matter if I wear white socks or black socks — the receiver is gonna get shut down regardless.”
For what it’s worth, the Jaguars have been an NFL afterthought sans Coughlin. Since entering the league as an expansion team in 1995, the franchise has had limited success (42.5% win percentage), making the postseason on just seven occasions. Five of those occurrences — including all three of their AFC championship appearances — have happened with Coughlin serving as either the team’s head coach (1995-2002) or president of football operations (2017-2019).
Ex-Giants Come to Coughlin’s Defense
Okay, Ramsey and his former Jaguars teammates clearly didn’t take fondly to Coughlin’s ways — fair. Yet, you’d be remiss if you didn’t think the First-Team All-Pro’s comments wouldn’t cause a stir amongst former Giants players.
Lawrence Tynes acknowledged that Coughlin isn’t for everybody. Although, unlike Tynes, chances are those players don’t have two Super Bowl victories to their names.
Rich Seubert, who spent his entire nine-year playing career as a member of the Giants, was a bit more direct in his Jalen Ramsey critique. The former interior offensive lineman responded to Tynes’ take by claiming the now Rams defender “must not like being held accountable.”
While normally quick to flex his Twitter fingers, Eli Manning let Seubert do the tweeting this time, liking his former teammate’s comment, as captured by Giants Alliance.
Brandon Jacobs, Big Blue’s franchise leader in rushing touchdowns (60), gave arguably the most glowing Coughlin review of the bunch, claiming the Giants “played for Tom.”
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