Drew Magary writes sports commentary for Deadspin, Maxim, GQ and is the author of "The Postmortal."
Tom Coughlin is on the verge of winning his second title in five years with the New York Giants. He'd accomplish this with two teams that combined to go 19-13 in the regular season. I'm not sure if this is tribute to Coughlin's skills as a head coach, or if it's a damning stat that proves his two potential titles were the result of some kind of cosmic fluke. Regardless, if Coughlin were to lead the Giants to another unexpected Super bowl title, it would be worth debating whether or not he's a Hall of Fame coach.
There are, by my count, eleven head coaches to have won multiple Super Bowl titles. Five of these men are in the Hall of Fame (Tom Landry, Bill Walsh, Chuck Noll, Joe Gibbs and Don Shula). A sixth - Bill Parcells - is a finalist this year after missing the cut a season ago. I have a hard time believing that Parcells - despite his copious baggage - won't eventually get in. Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan are both still active and therefore ineligible for election, though I think we'd all agree that the former will make it to Canton and the latter will not. Three other coaches - George Seifert, Tom Flores, and Jimmy Johnson - have multiple titles but appear doomed to never make it to Canton.
There are differing reasons for why the last three men never made it to the Hall of Fame. Seifert was seen as someone who rode Walsh's coattails to two titles. Flores never broke the 100-win barrier. And Johnson was a head coach in the NFL for just 10 seasons. If these three men couldn't make it to the Hall of Fame, does that doom Coughlin's chances?
Not quite. Take a look at Coughlin's resume and you'll see that he has a lot going for him. He has more than 100 wins. He's taken his teams to the playoffs in nine out of the 16 seasons he's been coaching. And he led the Jacksonville Jaguars to the playoffs in four of their first five years of existence. The Texans just took a decade plus to finally make the playoffs. Coughlin made building an expansion team from scratch look effortless. Coughlin was so good in Jacksonville that former owner Wayne Weaver openly said he deeply regretted ever letting Coughlin go.
There's more. Coughlin, despite his surly antics on the sideline, is quite cuddly with voters like Peter King, who just saw the coach in his undies not but four days ago. Coughlin has been an ambassador for the NFL with his charity work and his USO visits with troops abroad. That kind of stuff shouldn't matter when it comes to HOF voting, but it does.
Coughlin stands to be the 12th coach to win multiple Super Bowl titles, and he'd be doing it by cobbling together two miraculous season-ending runs. He's weathered calls for his ouster time and again and proven that there are few coaches out there who are better at game management and player motivation.
If the Giants win on Sunday, my guess is that he still won't have enough support to be a Hall of Famer. But I promise you, there will be people vouching for him in that room, and they're going to have some good arguments. Maybe another surprise title run in 2017 will make it a slam dunk.