INDIANAPOLIS -- It's time to consider that maybe New England's Bill Belichick isn't the greatest active coach in the NFL. Yes he has three Super Bowl rings, and three is bigger than two, and Giants coach Tom Coughlin has just two Super Bowl rings.
But Coughlin won both his Super Bowl rings against Belichick, the second coming Sunday night, a 21-17 victory in Super Bowl XLVI.
Three is more than two. We all know that. But head-to-head matters. It must. And head to head, in the most important game in the NFL, the score is Tom Coughlin 2, Bill Belichick 0.
That is not a fluke. That is a trend. And a fact. And a symbol, perhaps, that Coughlin deserves to be considered up there with Belichick as the greatest coach of this era. And seeing how Belichick has been mentioned -- and rightly so -- as one of the greatest coaches of all time ...
That means Tom Coughlin must be mentioned -- and rightly so -- as one of the greatest coaches of all time.
That is the power of the Super Bowl. It shapes legacies -- crushing some, burnishing others. The Super Bowl has burnished the legacy of Coughlin, just as it has burnished the legacy of his quarterback, Eli Manning.
I insist that Peyton, even with one Super Bowl, is better than Eli -- but Eli is a Hall of Famer, right now. If he retires tomorrow, if he never plays again, Eli is a Hall of Famer. So is Tom Coughlin.
So is former Coughlin boss Bill Parcells, for that matter. Parcells didn't make it into the Hall this weekend, but that's an oversight to be corrected another day. And then another day, years later, Coughlin will join his mentor in the Hall of Fame.
Such is the power of the Super Bowl. Such is what Coughlin has accomplished, at the expense of Bill Belichick.