Tom Coughlin suffered a tragedy following the New York Giants’ loss to Denver during Week 2 that reminds us all that football will always be second to family. According to Steve Politi of the Newark Star-Ledger, Tom’s brother, 63-year-old John Coughlin, tripped and fell after paying his taxi cab fare upon arrival at his Hackensack apartment.
The news struck several of his players deeply. Star defensive end Justin Tuck saw a man who is going to use football as a productive distraction from the unexpected, awful loss. In fact, Tuck reported that Coughlin told the players “that time on this earth is precious and don’t allow yourself to think otherwise. . . . Then he went right into the game plan.”
Coughlin’s loss and reaction struck an even deeper chord with wide receiver Victor Cruz. Cruz lost his grandmother this year, so he understands what it takes to maintain mental focus amidst a loss.
“It was tough. You could tell he showed a lot of passion talking to us,” Cruz said. “I feel like this team is an extended family to him. He felt like he could talk to us as candidly as he wanted to and I think we’re going to respond.
“It was a time where we needed to hear that, and it was a situation where we didn’t know that coach was going through some things, so it was definitely and emotional one for me at least just hearing him talk and I’m personally going to respond. I think the team will as well.”
Immediately after his loss, Cruz caught 11 passes for 179 yards in a win over Tampa Bay. Such results at Carolina on Sunday would be the first step in saving a season that has opened at a disappointing 0-2.
No matter what happens, however, Cruz reports that his respect for Coughlin and the way he has handled the unexpected loss has garnered him even more respect than ever.
“He spoke from the heart and he said some things to us that kind of triggered some thoughts and triggered some feelings in the way he felt about us , and I kind of grew some more admiration for my coach, more than I already had.”