But their shared history runs much deeper than that. They once were fellow assistants under then-Giants coach Bill Parcells. Coughlin served as the team’s wide receivers coach between the 1988 and ’90 seasons. Belichick was Parcells’s defensive coordinator during that time, and also was the secondary coach in the ’89 and ’90 seasons. The Giants won the Super Bowl in the 1990 season.
“We helped each other and would act as each other’s scout squad,” Coughlin said this week. “We would take advantage during training camp of any opportunity we were given to work against each other…. We worked well together and I think it was a very good thing for our staff, to be honest with you, because our cooperation was outstanding.”
Each spoke of the other in glowing terms during the buildup to this Super Bowl.
“I certainly do admire him and he’s done an outstanding job,” Coughlin said. “He’s an exceptional football coach and I’ve said that before…. Bill is going to work very hard, as we are, at showing you something and it really isn’t what you think it is. You really have to add an element of that into how you prepare. He’s always been an exceptional defensive coach trained by the best, by Parcells. He’s also become an outstanding offensive coach and Tom Brady has helped him to really diversify…. He’s always been an outstanding special teamer because he was a special teams coach at one time.”
Belichick said he sees coaching similarities between Coughlin and Parcells.
“I respect a lot of things about Tom—his evaluation of talent, the way he attacks teams, his consistency, his discipline, his team’s toughness, their resiliency, I would say all of those things,” Belichick said earlier in the week. “Bill has a lot of those characteristics as a coach…. That was the way Tom was as an assistant coach. He was very disciplined and very detail-oriented. He demanded a lot from his players. He was fair but firm, like he is now. Tom is a good guy and he has a good sense of humor. He’s a good guy to be around. On the practice field and the game field, you have a job to do.”
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