Frenette: You've got two years left on your contract [four-year, $21 million deal signed in 2008] and you're going to 64 years old in August. If things go your way in the 2010 season and the Giants were to offer you an extension, would you be interested in coaching beyond 2011?
TC: I've not really spent a lot of time thinking about that. I'd say right now I would be. I'd entertain that. Thank God, I'm in good health. I'm excited. I am upset about last year, so the juices are flowing pretty solid. At this point and time, I'm certainly not going to say I won't coach beyond age 65.
Frenette: You've experienced one of the NFL¹s biggest roller-coaster rides with the Giants over the last six years. Has the grind in New York been more taxing for you than the eight years you spent coaching the Jacksonville Jaguars?
TC: I don't think so because I look at it on a yearly basis. It's year-by-year to me. It's what my goals and my aspirations are. They're not imposed on me from anything from the outside. Someone from the outside writing that they're displeased with what they see is not necessarily going to have an effect on me. I know what I want. I know what I'm looking for. I do my own evaluating. Therefore, I'd say it's all based on the year, the team, and what I think the chances are for that team to succeed.
Frenette: In 1997, you told me that your ideal coaching scenario would be to stay on the NFL sidelines "about 12 years and win at least a couple Super Bowls." You've won one Super Bowl with the Giants and been to two AFC championship games with the Jaguars. Would one more Super Bowl ring be satisfying enough for you to close out your career?
TC: That's a good question. I don't like the word satisfaction, never have. I don't think I'll be satisfied with anything really, to be honest. Every year that you enter this business and this game, the goal is the Super Bowl. That's what my goal is. We have a good football team; we didn't play well last year. We gave up points we shouldn't have given up. We didn't respond well to that. We had a couple injuries, which everybody has, and we didn't respond well to that, either. We didn't plug the holes. Our goal is to be the very best that we can be, and if we do that, I think we'll put ourselves in position to compete for a Super Bowl title. That's what I¹m interested in. Would that be enough? I don't know; I'm not sure. I feel good, thank God. Quite frankly, I've always been one that never envisioned myself as not jumping up first thing in the morning and not having some place to go or something to do. That's always been very much in my mind. I don't know what I'd do with myself. I don't think that's healthy. That being said, right now, we take it one day and one year at a time in this business. At the end of this year, we'll evaluate it again.
Frenette: The way the 2009 season, finishing 8-8 after a 5-0 start, was that the biggest disappointment of your coaching career or do you view all playoff-absent seasons the same?
TC: I try to deal with the present. Yeah, I'm very, very disappointed, but I don't compare it to other years. The 5-0 start, I think we had some weaknesses that were being hidden. And when they were exposed, they were exposed, so it's not as if we didn't think they were there. It has been a huge source of motivation for this year. It was a combination of things. We didn't put a lot of pressure on the quarterback. Our secondary play was not very good, gave up a lot of big plays from the safety position. Too many big-play balls that had a chance to be defended. But we didn't help the secondary out either. The pressure package was not very effective. We didn't get to the quarterback to the extent that we had in the past. On the other side, we didn't run the ball as well. We started out running the ball well, but we got away from some of those stats. One of the good things is [quarterback] Eli Manning continues to improve on his numbers, which are better than they've ever been.
Frenette: You recently signed Wake Forest quarterback Riley Skinner, a Bolles School graduate, as an undrafted free agent. What did you see in him, if anything, beyond being a developmental quarterback?
TC: We thought he handled himself very well. He handled the huddle well, he studied and was serious about his work. He did display a strong arm and an outstanding ability to learn, to pick things up very fast. He was obviously very smart. It wasn't a sophisticated glimpse of our offense that we gave him. But nonetheless, we gave it to the other quarterbacks that participated as well. We just thought he had proven himself, from his outstanding collegiate career, his poise, his arm strength, his mobility, we liked what we saw. We were very impressed.
Frenette: You and your wife, Judy, have a home at the beach and intend to retire there whenever the time comes. Can you truly see yourself living a life without being in football? When you retire, can you honestly say you won't pull a Joe Gibbs or Bill Walsh and go back to coaching if an opportunity presented itself?
TC: No, I can't say that. I don't even know if I'd use that word [retire]. There'll be some capacity, some part of the game that I'll be involved in. What that might be, I don't know.
Tom Coughlin Speaks With Dan Hicken About the Jay Fund