1. Tom Coughlin & The New York Giants
Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Coughlin might make the most compelling case for Reid keeping his job. Like Reid, his Giants took a step back in year three of his administration. After going 11-5 in 2005, New York followed that season up with an 8-8 regular season performance and a third-place finish in the NFC East. To Coughlin’s credit, despite failing to post a winning season, the Giants still made the playoffs that year. They quickly made an exit from the tournament falling 23-20 to Reid’s Eagles, but it was the second-straight year they qualified for the postseason. The 2005 season began a run of four-straight playoff appearances.
One year later, Coughlin’s Giants won the Super Bowl as a six seed. They were only the fifth team to have done so at the time. Between his first and second Super Bowl wins, Coughlin wasn’t able to stave off the criticism and constant calls for his job. Even now, after twin Lombardi trophies, Coughlin still finds himself on the hot seat. The Giants organization and fan base have never allowed Coughlin to get too comfortable despite being one of just twelve head coaches to win the Super Bowl twice.
2. Mike McCarthy & The Green Bay Packers
After brief stints as offensive coordinator both in New Orleans and San Francisco, Mike McCarthy was hired by Green Bay to become their newest head coach in 2006. McCarthy inherited a fourth-place Packers team that went just 4-12 the previous year. His first year in Green Bay netted the franchise a four-game improvement, but Green Bay still failed to qualify for the postseason tournament.
Just one year later, McCarthy took his team to the NFC Championship Game. There, they fell to the Giants in overtime 23-20. Two years in and the Packers were only one game removed from a Super Bowl. McCarthy didn’t go on to win the big game until 2010, but by then he’d posted double-digit winning seasons thrice. The Packers knew what they had in Mike McCarthy and didn’t have to wait long for him to assert himself as the right choice.
Next: Exhibit C & D