INDIANAPOLIS — Tom Coughlin is looking forward to the parade and a couple weeks off to reflect on the Giants’ second championship in five seasons. Then he will begin preparations for defending the title.
The 65-year-old coach sees no reason to retire now.
“I mean, it’s what I do,” Coughlin said Monday morning, hours after New York beat the New England Patriots 21-17 in the Super Bowl. “So the alternative I’ve never really given it a whole lot of consideration. (Just coach) as long as I can.”
Coughlin could be around for a while following his second title as a head coach. He signed a contract extension in July that runs through next season, but it looks as the Giants could revisit that deal following the franchise’s fourth Super Bowl win.
It’s obvious he still wants to coach.
“I don’t fish, I don’t golf,” he said. “My wife keeps telling me, ‘You better have something to do, buddy boy. If you think you’re going to hang around here, you’re crazy.’”
Giants chief executive John Mara said it’s safe to say the team wants Coughlin to return.
“He might be 65, but he’s got the energy of somebody quite younger than that,” he said.
The Giants packed up early Monday morning and boarded busses around 11 a.m. for a trip to the airport and the flight back to New Jersey. Several players saluted the crowd as they departed the aircraft at Newark Liberty International Airport, and some used video recorders to capture the scene. Coughlin also had a big smile as he waved to the crowd.
The big parade up the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan is scheduled for Tuesday.
“If you’re any kind of historian, and you do have any recollection of this parade, the ‘Parade of Champions’ if you will, the ‘Canyon of Heroes’ - I remember John Mara looking at me and saying, ‘You don’t want to miss this now,” Coughlin said of a conversion with Mara in 2008 after their first title win over the Patriots.
“It’s the same thing I would convey to all of our players, you don’t want to miss this,” Coughlin added. “Heartwarming doesn’t quite cover this, what you go through and what your feelings are. When you are looking down the side streets, and there’s people forever down those side streets, and they’re all there because they are taking ownership of their team.”
Before he skipped town with the rest of the team, quarterback Eli Manning got the keys to the car he won for his second Super Bowl MVP award.
Manning, who led a game-winning 88-yard drive that culminated in Ahmad Bradshaw’s uncontested touchdown run with 57 seconds to play, spent the evening with family and friends. Like most Giants, he had little sleep.
Coughlin quipped he had 15 minutes of rest.
Manning said his brother, Peyton, congratulated him on his performance and the title. They also talked football, with Peyton asking Eli if he saw the middle linebacker on his touchdown pass to Victor Cruz.
Eli said no.
Peyton, whose future with the Colts was a hot topic in Indianapolis during Super Bowl week, also defended his little brother, Eli said, referring to the 38-yard pass to Mario Manningham on the final Giants drive.
Manningham made a terrific catch between two defenders and managed to get his feet down in one of the game’s biggest plays.
Many associated the importance of the catch with the one David Tyree made against his helmet in New York’s winning drive four years ago.
It wasn’t as good, but it helped just as much.
“He (Peyton) talked about the throw to Manningham,” Eli said. “He was mad, he said everybody was talking about how great of a catch it was. He said it was a pretty good throw, also. It’s a brother looking out for me. He was proud of me and happy for me.”
Eli Manning didn’t want to hear anything about bragging rights over his brother with two championships.
“This isn’t about bragging rights,” Eli said. “This is a lot bigger. This is about a team, an organization being named world champions, and that was the ultimate goal. That’s the only thing that’s important, is the team finding a way to get a victory. That’s the only thing I care about and Peyton and I both know that’s what the goal is every year. It’s not about anything else.”
Mara said everyone in the organization enjoyed themselves after the game.
“One thing that struck me just watching our guys all week was they have great camaraderie,” Mara said. “Everybody got along really well, and just great spirit. Really unlike any other team that I’ve been around. It really was a special group.”