With the New York Giants facing off against the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday, there comes to mind the obvious connection between the two franchises — Tom Coughlin.
Coughlin was the initial head coach of the Jaguars when they entered the NFL as an expansion team in 1995. He coached there for eight seasons and to this day remains the only head coach to leave with winning record.
With Jacksonville, Coughlin went to the postseason four times from 1996-99 and went to two AFC Championship Games.
In 2004, Coughlin, after a year off, was signed as the head coach of the New York Giants. We are all aware of his 12 seasons here and the two Super Bowl wins.
Coughlin faced the Giants just once as the Jaguars’ head coach, in Week 2 of the 1997 season. The Giants were in their first year under head coach Jim Fassel and came into Jacksonville with a 1-0 record. The Jags were also 1-0.
The Jaguars were going with backup quarterback Steve Matthews that day since their starter, Mark Brunell, was sidelined with torn ligaments in the knee — an injury sustained via Giants linebacker Jessie Armstead during the preseason.
The Giants scored first on a Tiki Barber four-yard touchdown run. The Jags came storming back with 23 unanswered points to take a 23-7 halftime lead.
The second half was all Jacksonville. They outscored the Giants 17-6 and walked away with their revenge in a 40-13 rout. The Giants were shredded for 252 yards in the air from Matthews, who was hustled into the game during the week after Brunell’s backup, Rob Johnson, injured his ankle.
“They brought me in here with one week of practice and said, ‘Hey, you’re going to be our number two guy.’ That just doesn’t happen in the NFL,” said Matthews. “I wasn’t going to let them down.”