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Tom Coughlin suggests he has something left to prove

Tom Coughlin responds to questions during a news

Tom Coughlin responds to questions during a news conference after a game against the Philadelphia Eagles. (Oct. 6, 2013) Credit: AP

Don't count on Tom Coughlin going out like this. At least not if he has a say in matters.

The Giants coach chose a strange venue -- a conference call with Redskins reporters on Christmas Eve -- to give his most definitive answer yet that he expects to be back in 2014.

Coughlin was asked if he still has passion for the game after a season like this one, in which the Giants lost their first six, will finish in third place for the second straight season, and could go 6-10 if they lose on Sunday.

"Sure. Absolutely," he said. "I mean, probably even more because there are a lot of those that are telling you that you didn't do very well and you're not a very good coach and you're not this and you're not that, so perhaps you have something to prove."

Coughlin, 67, has one year remaining on his contract. Several voices have called for an end to his 10-year tenure with the team, including journalists and former Giants such as Lawrence Taylor.

But after two Super Bowl championships, there are few signs that the Giants are looking to push him out the door.

That doesn't mean there won't be changes after missing the playoffs in four of the last five years.

Mike Shanahan, whose future with the Redskins is also in doubt after Sunday's game against the Giants, said on Tuesday that he, like Coughlin, wants to return in 2014.

"I've told you from day one, I love these guys," Shanahan said of his team. "We've been working extremely hard to put this thing together. We've had a couple of bumps, which we all know, with the [$36 million] salary cap [penalty]. But I'm looking forward to building this team. Like I said, I'll get the chance to sit down with Dan [Smyder] at the end of the season, and we'll go from there."

Shanahan, 61, and, like Coughlin, a two-time Super Bowl champion, said he understands what is driving Coughlin to return next year after such disappointment.

"If you're a competitor and you end the season on a negative note you want to come back and do everything you can to rectify that," Shanahan said. "I agree with him 100 percent. That's why you're in this business, you're motivated. Especially when you're used to winning and you have a year like this. It's tough on you. You want to get back to the basics and make sure it doesn't happen again."

New York Sports