Forget the Hall of Fame. It’s the myth-making treatment of NFL Films that turns the men of pro football into legends. And tonight is Tom Coughlin’s official bronzing.
Coughlin is the subject of tonight’s installment of “A Football Life,” the NFL Network’s Emmy-winning, hour-long documentary series.
This will be enjoyable to Giants fans because it can’t not be: Seeing your team celebrated on an NFL Films production and seeing your team celebrate on the field are one and the same. Plus, the show puts forth Coughlin as a paragon of an old-school athletic morality, for which virtue isn’t so much found in winning, as in the commitment and self-sacrifice that goes into it.
This notion of Coughlin as a man of integrity dovetails with the Giants’ brand, which is awash with nostalgia for a bygone era when men were men, and doing the right thing was simple, but not easy. That idea was reinforced two Sundays ago, when Coughlin reacted angrily to Tampa Bay’s attempts to hit Eli Manning, even after the game had been decided. Coughlin, offended on principle, stormed onto the field to find Tampa’s upstart coach, Greg Schiano, and lecture him about football’s unwritten rules. Schiano didn’t do things the right way, and Coughlin couldn’t abide.