Retirement Isn't on Tom Coughlin's To-Do List

Denials abound for a story that doesn't make much sense

One of the stranger storylines to pop up in this interminable week before the week before the Super Bowl has been the notion that Tom Coughlin will retire if the Giants win the Super Bowl.

It seems to have sprung up from the brain of a screenwriter instead of any actual hints from the coach or anyone associated with the Giants. The image of the old coach being carried off the field in his final game certainly would look nice on the big screen, but there seems to be about as much chance of it happening as there is of Adam Sandler winning an Oscar.

Coughlin denied it on Sunday night, which didn't end the speculation for some reason, and Giants guard Chris Snee, who is also Coughlin's son-in-law, stuck a fork in the idea on Thursday. Outside of his age, Coughlin is the oldest coach in football at 65, and the cinematic quality described above, it is hard to come up with a single reason why the coach would walk away from the game.

We'll spare you all of the gauziness about how Coughlin lives, breathes, eats and drinks football without any other interests. That's true of every football coach at every level in the game and some of them do, in fact, decide to retire.

A much bigger reason to consider is that there has never been another football coach who seems less affected by the pressures of coaching a football team than Coughlin. He has been the same guy through the highs of Super Bowl 42 and the lows of the last two seasons, a stark difference from other New York football coaches like Jim Fassel, Herman Edwards and Rex Ryan.

Bill Parcells is the only other local football coach to willingly walk away from the job, saying goodbye to the Giants after the team won their second Super Bowl in 1991. Parcells definitely seemed to be burnt out, but there was never much chance that he was going to stay away from the game for good.

Parcells wanted more control over football operations, something he wasn't going to get with George Young installed as Giants general manager, and he was going to take that chance somewhere else. There have been other winning coaches that have made similar choices, with Mike Holmgren's jump from Green Bay to Seattle serving as the most recent example.

Coughlin has no such dreams, mostly because he's already had full control of a football team in Jacksonville and failed at everything beyond coaching the team on the field in front of him. He knows this is his last job, he's content to simply handle the coaching aspect of the team and he's got the support of an ownership group that never even considered firing him despite three straight seasons of underachieving teams.

Why would you walk away from that? Coughlin is going to get a juicy new contract extension that takes him away from the annual questions about his job security and sets up a retirement date well in advance while also allowing the team to create a succession plan that ensures none of the histrionics we've seen in Indianapolis, Tampa and Miami this offseason.

You could keep going with the reasons, including Coughlin having a chance to build on a resume that will put him in consideration for the Hall of Fame, but the bottom line is that Coughlin doesn't seem to have lost any of his love for the job and he has no one trying to move him out the door within the organization. Those two things tell you pretty much everything you need to know and all but ensure that no one will be riding off into the sunset at the end of Super Bowl 46.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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