The Sports Daily > Ultimate NYG
Rule #19

In the NFL, 31 teams lose and 1 team wins.  You have to have a blueprint.  At the end of the 2006 season, the Giants eroded due to many reasons. 

One of them was that the players were NOT playing for Coughlin.  To be fair, Coughlin reminds us of the injuries to Strahan (Lisfranc) and (a rising) Tuck.  I was on record saying that the Giants needed to get rid of Coughlin because he had 3 years and his Jacksonville ways HAD NOT CHANGED. 

1) Tiki Barber asked Coughlin for easier practices in Nov and Dec.  His body was beat up.  Be fair to a warrior who had ~ 10K yards rushing, 5K yards receiving and 2K yards on special teams.  Old Coughlin’s answer? No.  Tiki’s answer- I’m outta here. 

In walks John Mara, Coughlin has to change to save his job, he changes.  The rest is history. Plaxico Burress noted that as a direct result of these council meetings, players voiced dissatisfaction (video minute 1:20) with the length and severity of practices in November and December.  Players were tired and all of the work during the week left them without enough energy on the weekend, ESPECIALLY AS THE SEASON WORE ON.  Rule #19. Coughlin listened.  The Giants were not road warriors in 2007 by accident.  They had energy left in the tank on Sunday and played like it.  Especially on the road.

This would have never happened to Coughlin in Jacksonville or Coughlin in NY from 2004-2006.  Now the Giants had the POSSIBILITY of a title in 2007.

Do you think this is something new, that Tiki was the first to complain about this?  Tiki saw first hand how Fassel, for all of Gentleman Jim’s shortcomings, was responsive to his players, went easy on them as the season wore on, the teams he coached responded to him and did really well in December (until that last of 7 seasons, of course).  This was where the Rule came from. 

2) It does not surprise this blogger that just yesterday we get the revelation from Jamal Lewis in Cleveland that Mangini is working the team too hard in the middle of the week.  Sound familiar?  Giants fans may not appreciate what Barber has done after leaving the field, but his heart was in the right place.  He was playing for an ogre.  

3) Paul W., a lifelong Browns fan and visitor to this blog, shares some reminiscences from his youth:

In an old “Black History Month” Tivo I have (“Jim Brown- Player of the Millenium”), Jim Brown talks about his disagrements with Paul Brown before the coach got fired by Art Modell.  Jim Brown mentioned that Paul Brown thought that he was “dogging it” when Jim Brown didn’t want to do the pushups during the week before the game. Jim Brown said that by midseason his arms were always aching from the pounding, his use of them with stiff arms and a “crow bar” move he used to break tackles!  He needed them to heal so (as he put it) “I had my weapons working on Sunday!”  Old school Paul Brown didn’t believe it!  The year after Paul Brown gets fired, the Browns hired Blanton Collier, one of the unsung great NFL coaches!  In ’63, Jim Brown was out to prove that he was no creation of Paul Brown.  Check out his statistics in the 14 game season of 1963!!!  Nobody’s ever come close to it. 1864 yds, 6.2 yds/carry.  The next year they win it all!  Btw, during all of those Jim Brown years it was always the Giants with Y.A. (Tittle) who were breaking my heart until 1964.  In ’65 the Browns lost to Green Bay in the Championship game and that was Jim Brown’s last game at the age of 29. 
So we find out that this thing about listening to your players has been going on for a little longer than Barber and Lewis.  Coaches are afraid to give up that ironclad authority.  At all costs?
Is Old Tom back?  I find it interesting to note that the two Super Bowls the Giants have been in since Parcells left (XXXV and XLII) both had coaches on the doorstep of getting fired.  In 2000 it was Fassel “all in” because he had nothing to lose, except his job, after the underwhelming loss to Detroit that made them 7-4.  In 2007 we chronicled the Old Coughlin who wouldn’t listen to his players.  It can be argued that both coaches went back to their “old” ways after picking up teflon once they made it to the Super Bowl.