There were a couple of questions that I just didn’t get a chance to ask Tom Coughlin in recent weeks, either because we ran out of time at his press conferences or the tone of the conversation did not make them appropriate at the time. Luckily, Michael Eisen gets to sit down with Coughlin for Giants.com once a week and have a less formal conversation with the coach and he hit on both of the topics.
The first was about the kerfuffle between Jim Harbaugh and Jim Schwartz a few weeks ago during their postgame handshake. Coughlin said he has never experienced such an incident during his many exchanges after games, and he doesn’t think – as some have suggested – that the tradition should be abolished.
“It’s an expression of sportsmanship that has been long-preserved and is supposed to be an example,” Coughlin said. “The game’s over, you walk across and you extend. You’re either the winner or the loser. It takes five seconds and you’re on your way.”
We’ll remember that on Nov. 13 when Harbaugh comes skipping across the field in San Francisco and wallops Coughlin on the back. At least Mike Murphy will be there.
The other topic was about Sea Payton’s injuries suffered on the sideline. Obviously you see officials get tangled up in the action every so often, and the NFL helped that by moving the umpire out of harm’s way for the most part. But coaches on the sideline get trampled every so often.
“Let me tell you something, it is so easy to get caught, you can’t believe it,” Coughlin said. “Suppose one of your own guys distracts you. I mean, if it’s a punt, you better pay attention right now. I’ve had gunners go behind me – behind me! Oh yeah. The ball is coming at you on the sideline, it’s a wide play, and you’re thinking, ‘Yeah, you’ll have time.’ Phew. All of a sudden they’re right in your lap. You’ve got to be aware. You don’t want to be distracted one second. It’s unfortunate that it happened to Sean. And it usually is friendly fire. That’s what it was with me. It was our own kid flying off the field, missed tackle kind of thing. Before you know it, there they are.”
Coughlin was referring to an incident that happened at Boston College when he was knocked over on the sideline.
“A defensive back came flying off the field and got me,” he said. “I tried to get away, but I couldn’t quite get back far enough. I remember the first thought I had was, ‘How the hell am I going to get off the field? How am I going to walk out of here?’ Because I thought I tore my ACL.”
Coughlin said he never had the knee looked at.
“I didn’t ask anybody and I didn’t do anything,” he said. “I just went to work, took a couple of aspirin, and the trainers came around the next day and tried to figure out what happened. They asked me, 'Do you need anything?’ I said, ‘Nope, you’re not touching me.’”