EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)—Tom Coughlin was rewarded for the New York Giants
’ Super Bowl victory, agreeing to a four-year, $21 million contract Friday that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid coaches.
He will earn about $5.25 million annually, according to a person with knowledge of the deal who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press because the contract hasn’t been signed. The person said the team will announce the deal Saturday. The two sides had the outline of the deal in place for weeks.
The contract represents a $2 million increase over last season and what he was to have earned this year. Seattle’s Mike Holmgren is the NFL’s top-paid coach at $8 million a year.
Gary O’Hagan, Coughlin’s agent, did not return a call. The Giants had no comment.
“I don’t think Tom’s going to change,” veteran punter Jeff Feagles
said in a telephone interview. “The monetary value, that falls into line with what other coaches make. And especially with the Giants, you’re rewarded for what you do on the field and your dedication, and Tom deserves every bit of it.”
Coughlin had been on the verge of being fired after the Giants went 8-8 in 2006 and were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for the second straight year. Coughlin and the Giants (14-6) both staged remarkable turnarounds, capped by a 17-14 win over the previously unbeaten New England in the Super Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
Coughlin was an assistant coach on Bill Parcells’ staff when the Giants won the Super Bowl in 1991. He left to coach Boston College and eventually took the head job with the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars
. Coughlin has a 103-89 record in 12 NFL seasons, including a 35-29 mark in four seasons with New York.
“We know what we’ll be getting with Tom, and that makes a difference to a player,” said Feagles, who signed a new two-year contract on Feb. 12. “You bring somebody else in, you never know if they’re going to change your routine. But we all know how structured Tom is. And now we all know he’ll be around for a few more years.”
Once an unyielding disciplinarian, Coughlin became a kinder, gentler coach. He still demanded perfection, but he was wise enough to enlist a group of veterans to get his message across.
It helped when the Giants were routed by Dallas and Green Bay in their first two games. The two blowouts had some fans screaming for Coughlin to be fired, and many felt this was going to be a long year for the Giants.
Coughlin went to his leadership council, and told them that there was no other group that he would rather be coaching.
The message got to the players and the Giants went on a six-game winning streak, starting with a victory over the Washington Redskins
that was preserved by a late goal-line stand.
New York eventually clinched a playoff berth by rallying to beat Buffalo in the next-to-last week of the year. The last week of the regular-season and the playoffs were magical.
With nothing to play for in the regular-season finale against the Patriots, New York played an inspired game behind Eli Manning
and opened a 12-point second-half lead against Tom Brady
& Co. before losing 38-35.
The performance gave the Giants confidence going into the playoffs and they rode it. They beat Tampa Bay in the wild-card game, avenged two earlier losses to the NFC East champion Cowboys in the conference semifinal and then got back at Brett Favre
and the Packers in overtime on a frigid day in Green Bay, earning their fourth Super Bowl trip.
A 12-point underdog in the title game, the Giants battered Brady and got a late-minute TD pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress
to win their third Super Bowl.