EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — While former coach Tom Coughlin admits missing the sidelines, he also left no doubt about how much he’ll enjoy standing at midfield during halftime of next week’s New York Giants-Cincinnati game.
Coughlin will be inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor along with former general manager Ernie Accorsi and retired defensive lineman Justin Tuck, two men without whom the 70-year-old could not have led the team to two Super Bowl titles.
“It is a great honor,” said Coughlin, who now serves as a senior advisor to the NFL’s football operations department. “I’m very appreciative of the fact that the New York Giants have chosen to add my family name to the Ring of Honor. I do really appreciate the history and understand where I came from.”
The coach considered the plaudit as much a family affair as a personal one. His son-in-law, former guard Chris Snee, went in last season, Coughlin’s final year with the team. And his relationship with Accorsi, the architect of Coughlin’s 2007 Super Bowl championship team, hired him in 2004.
But it was the coach’s mother who was mostly on his mind Tuesday.
“I think back to my mother, God bless her, when I was named head coach of the Giants,” Coughlin said. “She was very sick at the time, and I can remember her saying, ‘Thank God for the Giants.’
“That’s kind of the way I think she’d feel today, and the way our family will feel because we have great representation on Monday night. We’ll look forward along with Ernie and Justin to being recognized as the most recent members of a prestigious group.”
Accorsi’s biggest move was the draft day trade that brought Eli Manning from San Diego to the Giants in 2004, Coughlin’s first year. Even though Manning won two Super Bowls for him, the Hershey, Pa. native never thought he’d have place in the Ring of Honor.
“It’s not something I ever thought was possible,” said Accorsi, who retired after the 2006 season. “I’ve been around a million stadiums and have seen those names there and their immortal players and coaches. To be up there with that kind of group is overwhelming. It’s not something I ever dreamed.”
Tuck, the multi-talented pass rusher and run stopper who was just as effective at tackle as he was at end, wondered in the first place whether his name belonged next to others like Hall-of-Famers Michael Strahan and Lawrence Taylor.
“The first thing I think of is, ‘How did Justin Tuck get up on the level with those great names up there,'” said Tuck, who . “I’m still at a loss for words for it.
“Every time I look up there, I’ll never think of myself in the same category as a Michael Strahan or LT and so on and so forth. What I’ll always think of when I look up at those rafters is guys like Dave Tollefson, Corey Webster, Rich Seubert, all the names of the guys who helped me along the way.”
For Coughlin, enshrinement in the Ring of Honor won’t replace the thrill of game day on the coaching lines. He left the door open to coaching again. But his January, 2016 retirement did have its advantages. He didn’t have to deal with the messy cleanup of the domestic violence arrest that cost kicker Josh Brown his job.
That was left for successor Ben McAdoo. Coughlin said he had no inkling that Brown was abusing his wife.
“Of course not,” he said. “Nope. Nothing along those lines.”
To Accorsi, enshrining Coughlin in the Ring of Honor is only the beginning.
“He won two championships,” Accorsi said. “The business is to win championships; he won two championships. That puts him in the Hall of Fame in my opinion.”
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