BY CHRIS CIPRIANO
Tom Coughlin addressed the media Tuesday a day after he stepped down as Giants head coach, a position that he held for 12 years.
In typical fashion, the press conference started on “Coughlin time,” five minutes before it was scheduled to begin.
Heading into the press conference, the question of whether Coughlin would ever coach again was on the minds of many and he wasted no time addressing it.
“I don’t know exactly what’s next for me,” Coughlin said in his opening statement before mentioning he wants to dedicate time to his charity, The Jay Fund.
He closed his opening statement by saying “And with that, I will see you all next time,” emphasizing “next time.”
When pressed further by reporters, Coughlin left the door open.
If his days as a coach are over, he always has a job with the Giants if he so chooses.
Giants owner John Mara, who described Coughlin’s departure as “not contentious,” said he asked Coughlin to stay with the organization in some capacity. Coughlin told him he’d mull it over.
Coughlin began with a long list of thank yous, stopping and choking up when talking about his wife, Judy, his “quarterback.”
“She’s rock solid,” Coughlin said. “She’s what it’s all about.”
Fittingly enough, the last question Coughlin answered was about his other “quarterback,” Eli Manning.
The question was simple: What’s your message to Eli?
Coughlin addressed Eli, who was sitting in the audience, directly. For Manning, Coughlin is the only coach he’s known. They were both “rookies” with the Giants in 2004 and have been through many ups and downs together over 12 seasons in New York.
“He thinks it’s his fault,” Coughlin said, as Manning’s face started to quiver as he fought back tears.
“Eli, it’s not you. It’s us,” Coughlin concluded.
And with that, the Tom Coughlin era in New York came to a close, for now. Twelve seasons, 102 regular season wins, eight playoff wins and most of all, two Super Bowls.