Tom Coughlin Or Rex Ryan? Who Is A Better Head Coach?

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Rex Ryan Vs. Tom Coughlin, The Giants Side

So, SB Nation New York Jets writer Joe Caporoso thinks I rallied the troops at Big Blue View to vote for New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin in the TC vs. Rex Ryan as coach poll we are running. Well, truth is that I did. I also, however, notified our friends at Gang Green Nation of the poll to give them an opportunity to send Jets fans over to vote for Rex.

Joe, of course, defended Ryan and chose him over Coughlin, saying in part he is “banking on his potential to truly become one of the elite head coaches in the league.”

Well, that is where I need to pick up the argument for Coughlin. With 15 seasons, a Super Bowl title, 15 playoff victories and six division championships to his credit Coughlin, 64, ALREADY IS one of the NFL’s elite head coaches.

I am not giving Coughlin a pass for the late-season meltdowns suffered by the Giants the past two seasons. I don’t think most of the Giants’ fan base does, either. I am also aware of the comments by Giants’ safeties Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips that they would like playing for a coach like Ryan.

Given a choice between the proven and the possible, though, I am taking the proven. I believe Ryan has done a great job with the Jets, changing the losing attitude that surrounded the franchise. Until Ryan proves that he can ACTUALLY DO what Coughlin has already done, not just talk about it, I am sticking with the Giants head coach.

There is also the not-so-small matter of how each coach represents his franchise. Coughlin has always been a class act, a great representative for the league and for both the Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars when he coached them. Can you say the same for Ryan? Without going into the litany of off-the-field nonsense that surrounded the Jets a year ago, let’s just say I think not. The coach was at the center of most of it.

Should that stuff matter when judging a coach? That is an individual decision. It matters to me because I care not only about winning, but I care about the way the franchise I root for is perceived. It’s just another reason why I prefer Coughlin to Ryan.

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Breaking The Ballot: Rex Ryan vs. Tom Coughlin

You can imagine my horror when seeing the poll under Ed's article below, which currently has a 78-4 vote margin in favor of Tom Coughlin over Rex Ryan as who'd you rather have coaching your team. I wonder if Ed rallied some of his loyal Big Blue View readers to stuff ballot. Regardless, I am not here to argue that Rex Ryan deserved to be higher than Tom Coughlin ESPN's recent Power Rankings of NFL head coaches. However, this isn't a runaway decision as it is being portrayed in the poll below.

The question isn't "who has had a more successful head coaching career," it is "which guy would rather have coaching your team" and I take that to mean starting in the 2011 season and moving forward. In that scenario, you can make a pretty strong argument for Ryan over Coughlin. 

Yes, I am aware that Tom Coughlin won a Super Bowl back in the 2007-2008 season. You can never take that away from him, nor can you take away his 15 seasons of experience as a head coach and 15 playoff victories. Yet, if we are projecting to the future, I am going to focus on the previous two seasons since Ryan has first became a head coach. 

What I have seen is a coach taking an organization to back-to-back AFC Championship Games, an organization that had been in only two AFC Championship Games in their entire history prior to him taking over. Those results make it hard to say his "bombastic" style is hurting them.(Yes, I am setting the table for a healthy Rex Ryan debate between myself and Ed). 

In those same two years, Coughlin has had two ugly late season meltdowns that have both left the Giants out of the playoffs. Considering his age, Ryan's popularity in recruiting players (Coughlin's own players have expressed a desire to play for him and for the Giants to carry themselves more like the Jets), and the Giants recent December meltdowns, I think I just might take Rex for the 2011 season and beyond. I am banking on his potential to truly become one of the elite head coaches in the league, which of course involves winning a Super Bowl title. 

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