Though some in the media -- and the blogosphere -- have speculated that New York Giants' coach Tom Coughlin faces a 'win or else' 2010 season, team co-owner John Mara says that is not so.
Mara spoke to the New York Daily News about the state of the Giants, and the status of the veteran coach, as training camp approached.
Here is part of what Ralph Vacchiano's report."You can't let one year influence how you look at your team," Mara told the Daily News. "You have to take a long-range view of it. The league is too evenly matched in terms of talent. If you let one bad year - and keep in mind we were 8-8 (last year), it wasn't like we were 4-12 - you can't let that play too big a role in how you look at your team."
Coughlin has had a remarkably successful tenure with the Giants since taking over for Jim Fassel in 2004. He has a 55-41 regular-season record, two division titles, four straight trips to the playoffs and a Super Bowl title.
But after the way the Giants collapsed last season, it appeared the 63-year-old's honeymoon might finally be over. His team ruined a 5-0 start with a 3-8 finish, missed the playoffs and was humiliated in its final two games by a combined score of 85-18.
When the carnage was over, Mara was seething. He declared he was "unhappy at everybody" and that the .500 season "felt a lot more like 2-14 to me." He said that Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese were safe for the moment, but he left everyone wondering how long that would last.
"I mean, how would you expect me to react - especially the day after - to those final two games?" Mara said. "I mean, everybody was upset. I just happened to be the one to voice it publicly. But everybody in the building was upset about it. I would expect that."
Being upset, however, didn't mean he was compiling a short list of new coaches - even with a big name such as Bill Cowher looming on the sidelines. After the Giants' Super Bowl victory in 2008, Coughlin signed a four-year, $21million contract that locks him in through the 2011 season. Barring a disaster of a season - think a 4-12 type disaster - there's no reason to believe that will change.
"No, there's none of that," Mara said, when asked if Coughlin was facing a "win or else" campaign. "I know some of you guys are going to write that, but that's not how we're thinking at all. The only time I make changes is when you completely lose confidence in your personnel. That couldn't be further from the case here."
Over at Big Blue View, I have repeatedly defended Coughlin and I will continue to do so until I see signs that Coughlin can no longer produce winning football teams. Last December I said calls for Coughlin to be replaced, possibly by Bill Cowher, were "an emotional over-reaction to a bitterly disappointing season."
I still see that as the case. As a Giants' fan, I have complete faith in Coughlin, and I'm glad to see that Mara does as well.