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The Tom Coughlin Hot Seat Is Officially Retired

A second title all but ensures he'll coach until he wants to stop

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    We're going to miss the Tom Coughlin hot seat.

    It was always fun to get to the point in the season when the discussion of Coughlin's job status boiled over. You had the crowd that wanted him gone on one side of the fence and the eternal defenders on the other side, each of them getting as red in the face as Coughlin in a December game after the referees ruled that it is illegal for the Giants to have 12 men on the field.

    The best part of the annual dance is that both sides were totally right. Those wanting Coughlin's head have always been justified in wondering why Coughlin's teams have always seen consistency as something unimportant over the course of a season and those supporting him are equally justified in their belief that he's as good a football coach as there is right now.

    At 65 and with a multiyear contract extension likely already waiting for his signature, Sunday's win basically ensures that Coughlin will coach the Giants until he decides he doesn't want to coach the Giants anymore. He earned that right in Indianapolis and no one is going to take it away from him.

    We're not naive enough to believe that there won't be fans calling for his head if the team loses a couple of games to start next season because you'll only need to tune into WFAN and wait 30 seconds for someone with a short memory and shorter fuse to call in.

    If Coughlin could survive the last two seasons on the back of one title then he is going to survive several more after winning twice while working for the patient and rewarded Mara/Tisch ownership group.

    So with job security ensured, everyone is free to move on to Coughlin's legacy as a head coach. Specifically, they can start openly speculating about whether or not Coughlin will one day be elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

    Winning a second ring gives him a pretty serious set of credentials and he also deserves praise for taking the Jaguars from expansion team to two-time AFC Championship Game loser in a very short period of time. The fact that the media, who vote on the Hall, love him to death doesn't hurt, although there seems to be one very large stumbling block between him and Canton.

    A Bill Parcells-sized stumbling block, to be exact. Parcells fell short of enshrinement over the weekend and if Parcells isn't a Hall of Famer it is pretty hard to see a way that Coughlin qualifies for a yellow blazer and trip to Canton.

    Parcells won two Super Bowls, took a different team to a third Super Bowl and then took a third team to the AFC Championship Game. In all three stops (Giants, Patriots and Jets, for those who don't know), Parcells built up a team that was in the gutter before he got there and he went 10-6 with the Cowboys in his first season after Dallas had three straight 5-11 years to boot.

    Beyond that, Parcells is credited with building a coaching philosophy and style that has bred several very successful NFL head coaches. Included on that list are both of the men who were on the sidelines during the Super Bowl and Coughlin's resume just doesn't quite add up to that of his old boss.

    There's time for that resume to add a few more bullet points, of course, and it seems impossible to believe that whatever grudge the Hall of Fame gatekeepers have against Parcells won't yield to the reality of accomplishments at some point. Until they do, Coughlin would seem to be facing an uphill battle in regards to the Hall of Fame.

    It's an interesting conversation, but it is just a conversation. The annual Coughlin trip to the hot seat was a full-throated argument, full of life and passion on both sides that simply can't be generated when you're considering whether or not Coughlin deserves a spot in a hall near O.J. Simpson.

    We'll just have to console ourselves with the thought of what will happen to Rex Ryan if the Jets find themselves 5-8 come next December. That one might even be more fun because it always seemed like a long shot that the Giants would fire Coughlin.

    It's now no shot and it shall remain that way until Coughlin retires. The hot seat has officially been retired.

    Farewell, old friend. It's been fun.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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