Tom Coughlin: dynasty assassin

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 02, 2008



Tip your cap today to Tom Coughlin, the architect of two of the biggest upsets of the last two decades: one in the college ranks back in 1993 and, again Sunday in Super Bowl XLII, as his spunky Giants shut down the most prolific offense in NFL history.
 
The 17-14 victory by his Giants (10-6 in the regular season) over the undefeated (18-0) Patriots is literally the biggest upset of the Super Bowl Era.
 
Pigskin historians will point to the 16-7 victory by the AFL Jets over the NFL Colts in Super Bowl III as a bigger upset. But it was not.
 
The 2007 Patriots were better than the 1968 Colts, both in terms of record and scoring margin. The 2007 Giants were not as good as the 1968 Jets, both in terms of record or scoring margin.
 
Therefore, Super Bowl XLII is a bigger upset than Super Bowl III.
 
Sure, Super Bowl III featured a battle between the upstart AFL vs. the established NFL. But it was a major upset in the headlines more than it was in terms of production that season. The AFL proved it could compete with the NFL the following year, when the AFL Chiefs smacked down an amazing NFL team from Minnesota in Super Bowl IV.
 
So, as we stated, Super Bowl XLII is the biggest upset in Super Bowl history.
 
But toppling dynasties is familiar territory the Coughlin.
 
Back in 1993, his upstart Boston College team walked into mighty Notre Dame, a place from which echoes ring from one corner of the nation to the other. The Irish were 10-0, the No. 1 team in all of college football.
They had crushed Coughlin's BC team 54-7 the season before.
 
Yet somehow, someway, Coughlin's BC team found a way to win. They kicked a 41-yard field goal on the final play of the game and won, 41-39.
 
Fifteen years later, and Notre Dame has literally never recovered. The Irish have never regained the No. 1 status they held that day. And the greatest dynasty in college football history has become just a shadow of its former self.
 
And now we have this, an even bigger upset at an even higher lever.
 
New England was the first team in history to march through a 16-game season undefeated. They scored more points than any team in history. They won by a greater margin (+315 points) than any team in history.
 
Yet they lost to Coughlin's Giants, 17-14, on the biggest stage in North American sports. His team shutdown the highest scoring offense in NFL history.
 
His Boston College team destroyed the greatest dynasty in college history. It remains to be seen if he's slayed the dynastic dragon again, this time at the pro level.
 
But it's hard to see the Patriots recovering from this crushing loss at the hands of football's dynasty killer.

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