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Coughlin hoping to fulfill a lifelong dream

Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin met with the media for the last time on Friday before getting his team ready to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl.


PHOENIX – Roughly one hour after Bill Belichick addressed the media, Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin stood in front of the podium and talked to reporters. With the Vince Lombardi Trophy flanking Coughlin to the right, he said it would fulfill a lifetime dream if he and the Giants returned to New York with the Super Bowl hardware.

"Well, it would be a wonderful thing for the New York Giants organization, for our players, for everyone associated with the Giants," Coughlin said. "That is the ultimate goal. If you do aspire to be a head coach, you aspire to coach in the greatest game of all and that's the Super Bowl. That type of fulfillment is something that could be shared by all and something you'd remember for a lifetime."

Coughlin created a leadership council this year made up of veteran players led by Michael Strahan. Coughlin said the leadership council is just one example of how he's changed this season to communicate better with his players.

"I felt like I had to do a better job of communicating with everyone," Coughlin said. "Last year I would think that what I was saying to the team was very logical. But then I would hear back from a number of sources telling me that it wasn't clear. So I created the leadership council to help me hear the voices of the players better and I think it's worked out well."

This Sunday Coughlin will be coaching in his second Super Bowl. His first appearance came back in 1990 when he was a part of star-studded coaching staff that featured Bill Parcells, Belichick and Romeo Crennel.

"That was a tremendous learning experience for me," Coughlin said. "It was an outstanding collection of football coaches that brought great knowledge and experience to the table. Everyone who came from that group went forth far better than they arrived."

Unlike Belichick, Coughlin posed with the Super Bowl trophy following his press conference, although the Giants coach didn't actually touch it. He's hoping to do that for the first time following Sunday's game.

What a rush

The Giants defensive front will be trying to do to the Patriots what it's done all year long: apply pressure. New York led the NFL during the regular season with 53 sacks. However, despite getting some heat on Tom Brady in their first meeting, the Giants only sacked him once. They are looking for a different outcome this time around.

"We know we have to pressure him and get him out of his groove," defensive end Osi Umenyiora said about Brady. "It all starts with us and we need to put it on our shoulders. We've played well all year long but we need to play our best game of the season on Sunday."

On the other side, a Patriots offensive line that's only given up 21 years on the year knows they'll have their hands full with an athletic Giants defensive front this Sunday.

"There are a lot things you have to keep in mind and there are a lot of things that we have to improve upon from that first game," Matt Light said. "They're very good at what they do. They present several different issues for us up front and all of those things we just have to use this last week of preparation to get to know."

Center Dan Koppen agrees with Light's assessment of the Giants defensive line.

"They have it all. They have power guys, they have athletic guys, they have big guys and with that versatility they can do a lot of things," Koppen said. "They can put together a lot of fronts, they can run stunts, they can blitz, really they can throw the whole book at you.

"They're very good together. They work well together. They know what one guy is going to do and they can play well off of that. They just have really talented football players over there."


--According to Coughlin, the swelling has gone down in Plaxico Burress' knee. Burress hasn't practiced since the team arrived in Arizona.

"It's a day to day thing with Plaxico right now," Coughlin said. "He was better yesterday than he was the day before. Hopefully he'll be better today. He does have the ankle which been an issue all year long. Whether it has anything to do with it or not, the knee has (also) been a problem in the past.

"The swelling has been reduced somewhat. To say what he'll do today, I won't know until he gets over there. What he's been able to do this year with little practice … there was a long window where he wasn't able to practice at all, but the quality of the athlete, he was able to focus, learn from watch other people, study hard, watch tape, and was able to perform in games in a remarkable fashion."

--Much like Belichick, Coughlin isn't always thrilled to interact with the media. On Friday, Coughlin was asked if there's anything that irritates him about the coverage he receives from the press.

"That's a very good question," he said. "What I've tried to do is be more patient than I have been in the past. Redundancy does bother me, I admit that. Wasting time is a big problem for me."

--60 Minutes' Andy Rooney, a huge Giants fan, made his way through the Media Center Friday afternoon. The next time the PFW boys (Casale, Hart and Scalevino) see Rooney it will likely be in row 403 of University of Phoenix Stadium, where we'll be watching the game with binoculars.

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