Former Jaguars HC Tom Coughlin deserving of HOF enshrinement

Tom Coughlin's stint as the Jacksonville Jaguars vice president of football operations didn't go well but the man could coach. This is why he deserves a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell (L)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell (L) / ROBERT SULLIVAN/GettyImages

Tom Coughlin was the first head coach in Jacksonville Jaguars history. While his stint at the helm of the Jags was pretty good, he was even more successful with the New York Giants, leading them to two Super Bowl wins. For this reason, he should garner consideration to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame next year.

The HOF committee announced the list of 60 semifinalists of the 2024 senior, coach/contributor category and Coughlin made the cut. Other prominent coaches to be on the list are Mike Holmgreen (Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks), Mike Shanahan (Denver Broncos, Washington Commanders), Marty Schottenheimer (Los Angeles Chargers, Washington Commanders, Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns), and Dan Reeves (Denver Broncos, New York Giants, Atlanta Falcons).

Next, the committee will narrow down the list to 12 seniors and 12 coach/contributors July 27. Then, it will announce one candidate for final consideration on August 15.

During Coughlin's watch, the Jaguars made the AFC Championship twice and earned four playoff berths. What's more impressive is that Jacksonville reached the Conference game in just their second season after joining the NFL. Coughlin then was hired to coach the Giants and pull off one of the biggest upset in league history when they beat the until-then undefeated New England Patriots to win Super Bowl 42. The G-Men would face the Patriots again in 2011 and would again beat them to crown themselves as champions.

Coughlin eventually returned to the Jags, this time as their vice president of football operations. In his first year at the helm, Jacksonville reached the AFC Championship. However, they came crashing the following year and his strict over-the-top attitude toward players eventually made him an unpopular figure in the locker room.

Things got so bad that the NFLPA (the players' union) warned potential free agents and their respective agents to think twice about signing with the Jaguars. Owner Shad Khan then pressed the panic button and moved on from him in December 2019 even though he could have waited a few weeks for the season to end to pull the trigger.

Ex Jaguars HC Tom Coughlin deserves to be inducted despite his flaws

Coughlin and the Jaguars would have surely wanted to end his tenure as the VP of football operations in a different way but that doesn't diminish what he accomplished as a head coach in both Jacksonville and New York.

As cornerback Jalen Ramsey noted, football passed by Coughlin, who couldn't adapt to the current landscape of football. His strict ways might have been effective 30 or 40 years ago but were outdated by the time he returned to the Jags. Keep in mind that he was over 70 when he became team VP, so expecting him to change his approach drastically might have been a bit too much to ask.

While the HOF committee could his stint as the Jaguars VP of personnel into account, his two Super Bowl wins and his impact during his first stint in Jacksonville should carry significantly more weight. Having said that, there will be lots of worthy candidates to advance to the next stage of the process, so it's not guaranteed he will advance. Then again, he has a strong case.

Will Tom Coughlin eventually make the HOF? It's hard to tell but his positive impact as the head coach for the Jaguars and later the Giants is undeniable.

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