|Giants and Coughlin plan to wait until season ends to talk|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 08 January 2008 12:14|
``They have a game against the Cowboys and the most important thing now is to win that game,'' Gary O'Hagan, Coughlin's agent, said when asked Tuesday during a telephone call about possible contract talks. ``We don't have any comment on that at this time.''
Neither did the Giants (11-6), who earned their third straight playoff berth under Coughlin this past season.
John Mara and fellow co-owner Steve Tisch did not return telephone calls left by The Associated Press.
Giants spokesman Pat Hanlon said the owners wanted to avoid distractions with the team in the playoffs.
``We're trying to win a game,'' Hanlon said.
The Giants considered firing Coughlin last January after the team was eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs for the second straight year.
Instead, they gave him a one-year contract extension through 2008 after he convinced ownership he could make Eli Manning a better quarterback and get the team beyond the first round.
Coughlin, 61, has succeeded on both levels. New York improved record from 8-8 a year ago to 10-6 this season.
The Giants also took the next step in the postseason, beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-14 on Sunday for their first playoff win since capturing the NFC title in January 2001 under Jim Fassel.
Coughlin replaced Fassel for the 2004 season and now has led the team to the playoffs in three of his four seasons. This year might have been his best coaching job.
Not only did the offense play well in the year after catalyst and Coughlin critic Tiki Barber retired, but the defense emerged under new coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
Manning also has played two of his best games in recent weeks. He threw for four touchdowns in a loss to the New England Patriots in the final game of the regular season and he had a two-touchdown, no-interception effort against the Bucs on Sunday
Coughlin also changed. The no-nonsense disciplinarian formed a player leadership council to make sure he and the players were on the same page, and it worked.
There has been almost no griping about the coach, who led the team to an NFC East title in 2005 and wild-card berth the past two seasons.
When the season ends, Coughlin can talk to Mara and Tisch about a new, long-term contract. He signed a four-year, $12 million deal when he was hired in 2004. He has a 36-31 record heading into Sunday's NFC semifinal against Dallas.
Before joining the Giants, Coughlin was Jacksonville's head coach from 1995-2002 and went 72-64.