It’s Coughlin’s time.
Jacksonville Jaguars legend and former head coach Tom Coughlin will be officially inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars, the club’s ring of honor, during the 2024 season. The team made the announcement on Thursday, a day following Coughlin’s induction into the Florida Sports Hall of Fame.
Coughlin will become the seventh inductee, joining Hall of Fame offensive tackle Tony Boselli, running back Fred Taylor, quarterback Mark Brunell, receiver Jimmy Smith and the team’s first owners, Wayne and Delores Weaver. The Jaguars last inducted a member into the Pride of the Jaguars in 2016 (Smith) and retired Boselli’s number 71 during a halftime ceremony last year, giving him a unique gold banner.
“This is a special honor, not just for me, but for my family. Since 1994, we’ve made Jacksonville our home and it is gratifying to know how the team and the town are one,” Tom Coughlin said via a statement released by the team.
“I am proud of what we accomplished in those early years, but I did not do it alone, which is why I look forward to next season’s induction, when I can formally acknowledge all of the wonderful people — most notably our great fans – that made building the Jaguars in Jacksonville such a lasting success story.”
Coughlin, 77, was the inaugural head coach of the Jaguars after Jacksonville was awarded the franchise as one of two expansion teams that began play in 1995. Coughlin was the team’s head coach from 95-2002. He enjoyed plenty of success as one of the winningest coaches in franchise history with a record of 68-60.
Under Coughlin’s leadership, the Jaguars reached the playoffs four straight times from 1996-1999. They went to the AFC Championship game twice (1996 and 1999), ultimately coming up just short of the Super Bowl.
Tom Coughlin to enter ‘Pride’ after building Jaguars from the ground up
There’s no question that Coughlin built the Jaguars from the ground up. As former Jaguars player and current color analyst for the team, Jeff Lageman said via ESPN in the past, Coughlin literally “chose the freaking color of paint in the hallway of the stadium.”
After becoming the team’s first head coach, Coughlin took the Jaguars to greener pastures, setting the stage for the future of the franchise.
His no-nonsense coaching style, which was commonplace during his era thanks to Bill Parcells, was displayed during the early years of the team’s existence, becoming one of the fastest-growing up-start franchises in league history.
One of Coughlin’s most infamous methodologies during his tenure as a head coach and as an executive was known as “Coughlin time,” which ensured all players arrived ahead of time for team meetings by setting the facility clocks five to 15 minutes ahead.
This continued throughout Coughlin’s entire career.
Only the then-expansion Carolina Panthers can match Jacksonville’s start with both teams making their respective conference championship games in just their second seasons.
In his first five seasons in Jacksonville, Coughlin won an impressive 49 games, losing 31. That includes the team’s inaugural season at 4-12.
Though he enjoyed success early in his tenure with Jacksonville, his final three seasons with the franchise marked the end of his career with the team that gave him his first head coaching gig in the big leagues. Coughlin’s Jaguars won just 19 games after making it to the AFC title game in 1999.
He was fired shortly after the 2002 season in which the Jaguars finished 6-10.
Tom Coughlin enjoyed Super Bowl success with New York Giants
After being let go by the Jaguars, Coughlin took one year away from football before returning to coach the New York Giants, where he would stay for 12 years after spending the first eight years of his head coaching career with Jacksonville.
Coughlin enjoyed much more success as a coach for the Giants, including two Super Bowl victories over the New England Patriots (2006 and 2011). After tough years down the stretch, Coughlin resigned in 2015 but later implied that he was forced to do so by New York leadership.
He did not coach in the NFL again.
He finished his tenure in New York with a record of 102-90. Aside from football pioneer and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Steve Owen (153-100), Coughlin’s 102 wins with the Giants is the most in franchise history. Owen coached the Giants from 1930-53.
Coughlin was inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor in 2016.
Coughlin’s return to Jaguars embraced, marred with antiquated philosophies
After his tenure with the Giants, Coughlin joined the league’s front office, working with the NFL’s football operations department.
After just one year, in 2017, however, Coughlin returned to the Jaguars as the team’s Vice President of Football Operations. Essentially, Coughlin was in charge of the football operation in Jacksonville, working above then-general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Doug Marrone.
At first, the Jaguars saw quick success with Coughlin in charge. Jacksonville reached the AFC title game during the 2017 season after a 10-6 regular season. His return was praised and the Jaguars’ no-nonsense approach to football continued as if the head coach never left his podium.
It didn’t last long, though and the Jaguars won just five games in 2018, winning six in 2019.
Through Coughlin’s tenure as the Jags’ EVP, he instituted similar principles that he had done at his previous stops in Jacksonville and with the Giants. This was quickly rebuffed by the players, eventually leading to Coughlin’s firing during the 2019 season.
Coughlin reportedly fined players with an unjustifiable frequency and eventually, the NFL Players Association sent a letter to every player in the league warning them about signing with Jacksonville due to 25 percent of the grievances filed by the NFL players over the two seasons previous have been against the clubs.
“You as players may want to consider this when you have a chance to select your next club,” the NFLPA said at the time.
Still, even through a rough second stint with Jacksonville, what Coughlin means to not just the Jaguars, but the City of Jacksonville cannot be overstated. And no, says Boselli, this doesn’t impact his legacy at all.
“I don’t think it affects his legacy in the long run,” Boselli told ESPN in 2019, shortly after Coughlin was let go by the club. “And if it does, people don’t know what the heck they’re talking about, because if you look at what he’s done in the NFL and specifically in Jacksonville, he did great things with this organization.
“Didn’t end well but that happens, and it doesn’t take away from the coach he was, the influence he had on the game here in Jacksonville and in New York and in the NFL in general, and I don’t think it should.”
Demetrius Harvey is the Jacksonville Jaguars reporter for the Florida Times-Union. You can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, at @Demetrius82.
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