INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Chris Snee has to please his coach every day. His father-in-law, too.
Tom Coughlin is that coach. And that father-in-law.
“It’s been eight years of us working together on the field and we’ll be family off the field, so it’s been a great relationship,” Snee said Thursday as the New York Giants prepared to play the New England Patriots in Sunday’s Super Bowl.
Coughlin said matter-of-factly that Snee gets treated like any other player. There is no favoritism.
“He wouldn’t want it any other way, and that’s never been an issue,” Coughlin said. “I never think twice about it. We’ve been able to keep business, business, and family, family. He does a great job of making sure of that.”
In 2004, then-general manager Ernie Accorsi and Coughlin called offensive line coach Pat Flaherty in to discuss drafting the Boston College guard in the second round. They had one piece of information Flaherty needed to know: Snee was Coughlin’s son-in-law.
Flaherty didn’t hesitate.
“Chris Snee, the football player, is worthy of being a first-round pick,” Flaherty recalled telling them. “Their relationship, that was out of my hands.”
Over the past eight years, Coughlin and Snee have shared the highs and lows of the NFL. They won the Super Bowl in 2008, made the playoffs four years running between 2005-08, missed the postseason in 2009 and ’10, and now they’re once again within a victory of a second NFL title in four years.
Neither Coughlin nor Snee, who is married to Coughlin’s daughter, Kate, seem comfortable putting their relationship under a microscope. It’s a job. That’s it. Off the field, Snee can call him “Pops,” or “Dad” or whatever he is comfortable doing.
Giants guard Kevin Boothe said if someone didn’t know Snee and Coughlin’s situation, they wouldn’t be able to tell watching them on the field.
“He is one of the best at his position, so there’s not much to get on him about,” Boothe said. “If they talk, it’s Tom asking about the kids.”
Tackle David Diehl said Snee took some good-natured abuse as a rookie because of his relationship with Coughlin.
“Chris is a blue-collar guy and he’s a quiet guy, he doesn’t have to say much,” Diehl said. “He lets his play and work ethic do the talking for him. And with coach Coughlin, he’s treated everyone the same way. If Chris messes up, he’d yell at him just like he’d yell at any of us.”
While Snee and Coughlin seemingly have perfected the art of having your father in-law as your coach, many players who will take the field Sunday laugh about similar arrangements.
Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty had his father, Joe, coach him in pee-wee basketball when he was 11 or 12 years old in Raleigh, N.C.
“I didn’t like it very much,” Canty said. “He was just very hard on us and very hard on me. I was just: ‘Wow. I can’t wait until I don’t have to play for this guy anymore.’ “
Patriots receiver-defensive back Julian Edelman said his father coached him in football, baseball and basketball.
“If it wasn’t football season, we were hitting baseballs or if it was raining, we were in a gym, shooting free throws or setting up, doing dribbling drills and all that stuff,” he said. “My father has had a key role in my life, helping me get where I am.”
What about getting special treatment?
“There was always a little more pressure on me,” Edelman said. “If you didn’t perform well, you have to go home to him. Mom would have to tell him, ‘Football time is over, or basketball time is over.’ So I would say there was no favoring.”
Patriots safeties coach Matt Patricia was a wrestling coach, but he never competed for him. He would give advice, but let the coaches work with his son.
Patricia said there was one place his father didn’t cut him any slack: the classroom. His father taught mechanical drawing and architecture.
“It was often difficult, there were no mistakes to be made in the classroom,” Patricia said.
Giants assistant line coach Jack Bicknell Jr., loved playing football for his father, Jack, at Boston College, It was the Doug Flutie era and the Eagles were winning a lot.
“It was a little difficult starting out because no one knew what the ground rules were,” Bicknell Jr. said. “They were worried I might be telling my dad what was going on or whether I would be getting favored treatment. But as I got friends and we went to the Cotton Bowl our senior year and had the Miami thing, it was a magical time, and to be able to share that with your dad is special.”
Or with your father-in-law.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)