Tom Coughlin denied Bill Belichick two Super Bowl titles, making Thursday night’s preseason finale between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots an unusual one for the man now considered the greatest head coach in the NFL.
Twice it was Coughlin as head coach of the New York Giants who denied Belichick and the Patriots a chance to cap off their season with a championship. Now on Thursday night, it will be Ben McAdoo and not Coughlin on the sideline for the Giants as the long-tenured head coach was set free following last year’s 6-10 season.
Belichick, the coach of the Patriots in both of the Super Bowl losses to Coughlin’s Giants admits that the final preseason game will be unusual without his nemesis on the other side.
“A little bit, yeah, it does a little bit. All of the coordinators are still there so it's almost like him working in New York kind of grandfathered in, looking over the shoulder,” Belichick said. “But [Mike] Sullivan moving up, and Steve [Spagnuolo], and [Tom] Quinn on special teams, so it's really a lot of the same people there, so I think schematically there is quite a bit of carryover, but yeah, it will be a little different not looking across the field and seeing Tom over there. I'm sure he misses us. He always did pretty well against us.”
Belichick of course came through the NFL as part of the Bill Parcells coaching tree, having spent over a decade as an assistant with the Giants. After several seasons as a defensive coordinator, he left the Giants in 1991 to become head coach of the Cleveland Browns.
Thursday will be a return to the Meadowlands for a man with strong roots to the area’s local teams – Belichick after all was head coach of the New York Jets for about five minutes before he joined with the Patriots.
There are no real emotions now for him as the team no longer plays in Giants Stadium but rather their (relatively) new digs at MetLife Stadium.
“I did in Giants Stadium, not so much in this stadium,” Belichick said. “I never coached there for the Giants. Yeah, going back to Giants Stadium, that was a very emotional – a lot of memories from Giants Stadium; a lot of good ones.”