He was a dead man walking, soon to be fired. Instead, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin led his team to a stunning Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots, a story he recounts in his new book, "A Team to Believe In." Ever a good sport, NEWSWEEK's Mark Starr, a lifelong Pats fan, spoke with Coughlin as the new NFL season kicks off this week.
You decided to change your style last year, to rein in your temper and be more open. Why?
I had not done a good job of communicating. I would stand in front of our team, feeling like what I was saying was pretty simple. Afterward I might listen in the hallways to three or four different interpretations of what I had said. And if it was gonna be my last year, I was gonna enjoy it.
Why'd that take so many years?
None of the principles changed. Just my approach. Our player-development director said to me, "Let the players see you as you are with your grandchildren." We weren't playing tag, but I understood.
Will you try to "mellow out" even more this season?
Absolutely. It's not easy for me. My mother once said to me, "You're not a backslapper. You are one of the serious ones."