What’s the difference between Lovie Smith and Tom Coughlin, other than the fact that one has a job right now and the other doesn’t? If you look at their regular-season records with their teams over the last nine years, not very much.
Both men were hired as head coaches by the Bears and Giants starting with the 2004 season, so they have a neat nine-year span to compare. Here are their regular-season records over that span:
Lovie Smith: 81-63, .563, three division titles
Tom Coughlin: 83-61, .576, three division titles
So basically over nine years the difference between the two men is two games. They are even evenly matched head-to-head during the last nine years: They’ve met four times and split those games.
They’ve even both taken their team to a pair of NFC title games.
The big difference, of course, is in the rings.
Coughlin won the two Super Bowls and has an 8-3 postseason record (all eight of those wins came in Super Bowl runs).
Smith is 0-1 in Super Bowls. He’s 3-3 in the postseason.
Obviously the championships go a long way. Coughlin also had immediate success with the Jaguars; that plus the two Super Bowls with the Giants should combine to make him a Hall of Famer.
But it’s a very thin line between a pink slip and a gold blazer.