It’s difficult enough to get an interview with Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin in the offseason, so you can imagine my surprise when he agreed to sit down with me during the chaos of the regular season! And while the perception of Coughlin is that he has the personality of a mouse pad, you will see – he’s actually pretty lively. It should also be noted that while this interview is 100 percent accurate, it is also equally fake. Anyway, on with the interview…
Me: Welcome, Mr. Coughlin! Have a seat…
Coughlin: Thank you.
Me: Can I tell you something?
Coughlin: Go ahead.
Me: I’ve been sitting here for the past four hours, because last night I was having nightmares that I’d be late for your interview, and that you’d berate me in front of everybody.
Coughlin: Wow…Well, that’s real nice of you, but I try not to berate anyone except my own players. Plus, there’s nobody here to berate you in front of.
Me: Yeah, I know, but it was a dream, and dreams are freakin’ weird sometimes, ya’ know? Like, in the dream, it was YOU, ya’ know, but it wasn’t really you. You were my eighth grade math teacher. But it was you. You were wearing those old school blue sweatpants with the word “Giants” in red down the side of the leg. I miss those sweatpants – I used to have a pair back in the day. Do you remember those?
Coughlin: Maybe we should move on here.
Me: Good idea. Eli Manning…regrets?
Coughlin: Certainly not. Eli is one of the fine young quarterbacks in the NFL right now. He led us to the playoffs last season, and we’re looking forward to years of future success with him running the offense.
Me: Who throws a tighter spiral – Eli Manning or Uncle Rico, of “Napoleon Dynamite” fame?
Coughlin: I never saw that movie, but I’d put my money on Eli.
Me: What?! You never saw “Napoleon Dynamite?!” That is freakin’ crazy! You gotta see it…seriously. I mean, I’m sure the game tape of last season’s playoff loss to Carolina is hilarious, but this movie is even better. Trust me.
Coughlin: Again, we should move on here.
Me: Actually, now that I think about it, you seem like the kind of guy who would be utterly confused by that movie. Maybe you should rent “Cheaper by the Dozen” instead. That seems more up your ally. Too many kids running around is crazy, am I right?
Me: Okay. Before the NFL released its schedule for this season, did they call you up and tell you to bend over?
Coughlin: I have to admit, I was fairly surprised when I saw the schedule for the first time. The NFL certainly didn’t give us any breaks this year. But we’re not going to use that as an excuse. We just have to go out there and win.
Me: Really though, how does it feel to be punished by the NFL for having a good season? Usually, the powers that be do everything they can to make big market teams succeed. But in the Giants’ case, they were like, “Hey, great game against Carolina! Just for that, here’s the Colts, at Philly, and at Seattle to start things off! Good luck!” Complete bastards, no?
Coughlin: Like I said, we just have to go out and win the games.
Me: When do you plan on executing that plan?
Coughlin: We’re 1-1.
Coughlin: Next question.
Me: Was that your Drew Rosenhaus impression? If so, nice!
Coughlin: It was not.
Me: That was a great comeback this past Sunday by the Giants in Philadelphia. Have you considered asking the team to play four quarters instead of one and a half?
Coughlin: Playing a full four quarters is always the game plan. Sometimes it’s the execution that fails.
Me: Speaking of game plans, are stupid penalties in your playbook? It would seem to me that, yes, stupid penalties are a large part of your playbook.
Coughlin: We are working on the penalty situation.
Me: Are you aware that, during the game on Sunday, Joe Buck called the Giants “undisciplined?” Did you consider that as a slap in the face to all that you stand for? Does Joe Buck need to disciplined, and, if so, how many yards is a team typically penalized for disciplining an announcer? 15 yards? I would take that if I were you.
Coughlin: I do not listen to what the announcers say.
Me: Last season, after the Carolina loss, Tiki Barber went on to pass blame on everybody, and he specifically mentioned the coaching staff. Have you considered going on Tiki’s talk show to confront him about the statement? He has a talk show, right?
Coughlin: We are well past that incident by this point. Tiki and I have a great player-coach relationship. And I do not believe that he has a talk show.
Me: That’s weird. Anyway, one of your offensive lineman, Chris Snee, doubles as your son-in-law. That means he married your daughter, right?
Coughlin: Ummm, yeah.
Me: That is a great story! What a conflict of interest! Have you considered informing some of the game announcers of this little-known fact? I have never heard them mention it before!
Coughlin: It smells like sarcasm in here.
Me: My bad. Tom, for someone who seems so, oh, how should I put this – mean and boring – you really love getting the crowd pumped up during games. Was this your own idea, or did your publicist tell you to wave your arms like that?
Coughlin: I truly believe that the crowd can often be a 12th man on the field, and if I can help them get more involved, then I’ll do it. Anything to help us win.
Me: Many people – like my friend Joe – think that maybe you should spend less time trying to pump up the crowd, and more time telling Jeremy Shockey to stop being such an idiot.
Coughlin: I’ll take note of that. Do you have a pen?
Me: Wow, now you’re dishing out the sarcasm! You are cooler than I thought!
Coughlin: Thank you.
Me: Were you ever called as a witness to testify during Michael Strahan’s divorce trial, in order to confirm his record of staunch heterosexuality?
Coughlin: No, I was not. But if Michael had needed me to, I would have.
Me: If you did have to testify during the trial, would you have pumped up the jury in the same fashion that you pump up the crowd at the Meadowlands?
Coughlin: I don’t think they have juries for divorce proceedings.
Me: That is interesting. Many people have dubbed the NFC East as the toughest division ever in the history of organized sports. However, this division includes BOTH Drew Bledsoe and Mark Brunell. Please explain.
Coughlin: Well, I do believe that we play in the toughest division in the league this year. But that distinction has more to do with the overall talent than just two specific guys. Every team has explosive playmakers, a solid defense, and good coaching. And besides, Bledsoe and Brunell are not bad quarterbacks. They both have big game experience.
Me: True, but so does Joe Namath. Okay, one last question before I let you go. If Chris Snee and your daughter ever decide to have kids, will you take them to see “Cheaper by the Dozen IV?”
Coughlin: We’ll see. As long as there’s no foul language. And no Ashton Kutcher. I can’t stand that guy.
Me: Yeah, me neither. What a tool.