The Giants And Coach / Quarterback Tandems

Bill Parcells and Phil Simms. Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. Forever written in Giant history as the two greatest coach quarterback tandems in Giant history. There is a link between Hall of Fame head coaches and quarterbacks. According to this 2006 NY Times article by 2006  fifteen coaches of the past 50 years have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thirteen of them had a Hall of Fame quarterback. That link continues today with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.  One could also make the case for Mike Tomlin and and Ben Roethlisberger.

Parcells started with a team that had on defense players of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Leonard Marshall, George Martin, Jim Burt and Terry Kinard. It was loaded on defense. Parcells went 3-12 his first season as Giant head coach. He thought he was going to be fired.  He changed quarterbacks the next year from Scott Brunner to Phil Simms. Simms had previously played as starter before Parcells arrived and had a 14-20 record. The Parcells – Simms duo was a fiery relationship between two thick-skinned individuals. Simms took the brunt of Parcells rough coaching style. However Phil would also yell back at the coach in heated conversations. They respected each other.

Parcells encouraged Simms to play aggressive. He once said to Phil – “Hey Simms, if you don’t throw at least two interceptions today, you’re not taking enough chances.” Parcells ran tough practices. He treated practice as the most important part of their careers. Parcells was brutally honest with the players and everyone knew where they stood and what was expected of them. He believed in setting immediate goals and always work each day to be better. The Giants won two Super Bowls with Parcells and Simms. The 1990 season Super Bowl season Simms broke his foot in the fifteenth game and was out for the year. But he helped get them there with an 11-3 record before the injury.

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning both started the same year in 2004. The Giants had a 6-10 record that year. Coughlin started his Giant career with a solid offensive line containing David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara and Chris Snee. The defense had Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. On offense they had play-makers with Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockley, Ike Hilliard, Amani Toomer and David Tyree.

The head coach – quarterback relationship of Coughlin and Manning appeared to be quite different than Parcells – Simms. Coughlin came in as a strict disciplinarian with his rules. He softened after those first years. He developed what appeared to be almost a father- son relationship with Eli.

Manning had a tough start to his career. “Those first games I played weren’t real pretty,” Manning said. “He saw I was working and learning from my mistakes. He helped me through those times, always had my back.”

There were only 32 starting quarterbacks since 1979 in their first 16 starts that had 1,000 yards passing with a passer rating of 70 or less, a pass completion percentage of 53% or less and a yards per attempt of 6.5 or less.  I picked 1979 as that year or later the league average was higher for all these listed metrics. Both Phil Simms and Eli Manning make the list. There are some other notable quarterbacks that made the list such as Troy Aikman,  John Elway and Kerry Collins. But the rest of the list is mostly low tier quarterbacks.


Troy Aikman believes Jimmy Johnson belongs in the Hall Of Fame. Johnson and Aikman started at Dallas the same year and Aikman was 0-11 that first year.  Three years later they won two consecutive Super Bowls together.  Aikman remembers Johnson for his fearlessness, always playing to win. and his ability to prepare a team during the week in practice.

Jim Fassel was head coach when Kerry Collins started for the Giants. Fassel is generally credited in helping develop John Elway and Kerry Collins into quality quarterbacks. After losing six of their last eight games in 1999 Jim Fassel felt they had too many selfish players on the team.  He said to general manager Ernie Accorsi  “No matter who we sign, I want them to be good people first.” The next season Fassel and Kerry Collins helped lead the Giants to a Super Bowl appearance against the Baltimore Ravens. The Giants would be totally dominated in the game. Interesting after being fired by the Giants after the 2003 season, Fassel was hired by the Ravens as a senior consultant. “Outside of Bill Walsh, I think Jim Fassel is the best quarterback teacher I know,” Brian Billick said on 2004 as head coach of the Ravens.

Could we see a  new good head  coach/quarterback duo in Pat Shurmur and Daniel Jones? That is what the Giants organization was planning for when they brought both on board.

Like Fassel, Gettleman and Schurmur have assembled team-oriented players. Schurmur is known as a quarterback whisperer having helped develop Nick Foles, Sam Bradford and Case Keenum. Like Coughlin he is a coach the players like and play hard for. He’s got the quarterback’s back. The team does not appear to be as talented as the teams that Parcells and Coughlin started with. However part of being a great coach is getting the whole team to play at a higher standard. As Fassel used to tell his team – The best team doesn’t always win. The team that plays the best wins. The Giants can make a big step forward with a win this Sunday in Detroit.

A week eight fact:

The Lions are tie with the Falcons and Bengals for longest active streak of opponent passing yards of 200+ yards with six games.

Enjoy the Game!

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