Friday, February 03, 2012

The Super Bowl Coaches


Long Time Friends and Former Teammates

While much has been written about the Super Bowl I can share with you my personal experience and it concerns the two coaches of the Super Bowl gladiators. Back in the decade of the 1980's I had the pleasure of working for Tom Kean, Governor of New Jersey.

It was during that time newly opened Giants Stadium at the Meadowlands Sports complex was home to the New York Giants and Jets and the Giants, who had struggled for years to regain the stature of past teams, recruited a young New Jersey native Bill Parcells to lead the team back to greatness.

Indeed he did leading them to Super Bowl championships in 1987 and 1991 before moving on to the Dallas Cowboys and then New England Patriots. Since the Giants stadium was owned by the State of New Jerseyand the governor and designated state commissioners were on the Meadowlands Board on occasion I got to represent the governor at meetings during the first Super Bowl season.

Through this unusual opportunity I also got to meet Coach Parcells on several occasions and his assistant coaches. Over the years I became great fans of Parcells, along with two of his many successful assistant coaches Bill Belichick and Tom Coughlin.

These are the same people who are now head coaches for this year's Super Bowl teams, the New England Patriots and New York Giants. Their individual success stands as a testament to Bill Parcells and the many assistants who went on to head coaching and successful careers. All should and will be in the NFL Hall of Fame.

They once worked toward the same goals: Win a Super Bowl as an assistant coach. Become a head coach. Become a Super Bowl-winning head coach.

For Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Giants coach Tom Coughlin, those were yesterday’s dreams. Based on their successes, each has had to readjust their career objectives.

On Sunday, they will again have the same achievement in mind. However, only one will leave Indianapolissatisfied.

“He’s a good friend of mine that I’ve been with a long time,” Belichick said last week when asked about Coughlin.

For three years, from 1988 through 1990, they worked together on Coach Bill Parcells’ Giants staff. Belichick, who had been with New York since 1979, was the defensive coordinator, while Coughlin acted as the wide receivers coach on a staff that included the likes of Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis and Al Groh.

Following a Super Bowl XXV victory over the heavily favored Bills in January 1991, each jumped to head coaching positions: Coughlin to Boston College, Belichick to the Cleveland Browns.

Twenty-one years later, they meet in the Super Bowl for the second time, branches of Parcells’ coaching tree getting tangled up once again. They first met in 2008 when Coughlin's Giants stunned the odds makers and beat the Patriots.

The three coaches will have coached in 10 Super Bowls, winning 6 after this game, a remarkable record for three members of the same Giants coaching staff.

Right now, one man sits alone among NFL head coaches in the Super Bowl era. That man is Chuck Noll, the legendary former head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the only NFL coach to win four Super Bowls.

Enter Bill Belichick.

Even if he loses Super Bowl XLVI and never wins another game, Belichick's legacy will still be strong. With a victory this weekend, the Patriots' coach will tie Noll with four Super Bowl wins, and, in essence, elevate himself to a status only Noll has known.

1 comment:

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