Tom Coughlin's Firing is a Massive Stain on His Legacy

Ryan Phillips
Tom Coughlin, Jaguars
Tom Coughlin, Jaguars / Eric Espada/Getty Images
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Tom Coughlin's legacy may never recover from what happened Wednesday.

Coughlin won two Super Bowls as head coach of the New York Giants and was the first coach the Jacksonville Jaguars ever had, leading them to the AFC Championship Game twice. He returned to the Jaguars as an executive in 2017 and the team went to the AFC title game. But Coughlin's Hall of Fame resume took a massive hit on Wednesday as the Jaguars announced the 73-year-old had been fired.

On Monday, the NFL Players Association sent a letter to its members revealing that more than 25 percent of the grievances filed by players over the last two years, had been filed against the Jaguars. It warned the players against signing with the Jaguars as a result of the grievance issue. It later surfaced that Coughlin -- the team's executive vice president of football operations -- and the franchise had levied a ridiculous amount of fines on players.

Dante Fowler Jr. revealed he was fined 25 times for a total of more than $700,000 for missing "mandatory" treatments that the team wasn't allowed to make mandatory. Fowler won his grievance against the team and got his money back.

Leonard Fournette also revealed he won a grievance against the Jaguars to get a $99,000 fine rescinded. Coughlin apparently didn't like Fournette's conduct while he was inactive for the team's 2018 finale, during which the running back sat on the bench. Yeah, he was fined for sitting on the bench.

During the last two years, the team's performance and morale have both headed into the toilet. The signs of trouble were there. Fowler and Jalen Ramsey were both traded after a contentious relationship with the team had developed and linebacker Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May of 2019.

Coughlin has long been known as a tough, old-school guy. It has been reported that his idea of being on-time for a meeting is getting there five minutes early. That kind of thing is fine at times, but when rigid discipline morphs into fining players for missing things that aren't mandatory, you've gone too far. At some point you're just looking to fine guys for things.

We're past the era of tough-guy executives and all-powerful coaches demanding things of players. The players now have the power in the NFL because without stars, you can't win. You can't treat players like garbage and expect success on the field anymore.

Coughlin's time passed years ago. The Jaguars made a mistake even hiring him back as an executive. That mistake is hopefully now corrected, but the franchise needs to ensure it has cleaned out all elements of his regime.

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