Colin explains how Tom Coughlin is the most underrated person in NFL history

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Colin Cowherd analyzes Tom Coughlin's career and the effect he's had on multiple organizations heading into the AFC championship game between Jacksonville and New England.

- The NFL has always been led by the smartest guy in the room. There's a guy in the NFL in every decade that is the most copied, and duplicated, and mimicked, and respected. In the '50s, it was Paul Brown of the Cleveland Browns.

He essentially invented the hierarchy of coaching-- the coach, the coordinator, the position coach, the special team coach. He developed scouting, game plans. Everything in football you see today, in the '50s, created by Paul Brown.

In the '60s, it was Vince Lombardi, who was not only incredibly progressive on race relations at the time-- gay rights, race rights. He was very progressive. But he created this dominating offense and was duplicated for decades beyond that.

Then in the '80s, it's Bill Walsh. His coaching tree is unbelievable-- the west coast offense, smartest guy in the room, Super Bowls. And then in the '90s, you can argue it was a lot of Bill Parcells and his personnel acumen. And he was the great teacher and the mentor to so many great coaches.

Jimmy Johnson also gets a plug, because Jimmy Johnson changed the culture of trades. Nobody in the NFL traded players until Jimmy Johnson. I mean, the New York Giants in their, like, history had made one trade. Jimmy Johnson shows up in Dallas, trades half his roster. It changed the entire culture of the league in acquisitions and trades.

And then in 2000 on, it's been Belichick, who can do the cap, who's a defensive guy, but he's a great mentor. He knows offense, details, red zone. Every decade, there's been a guy.

OK, the next person I'm going to mention is not going to be mentioned but should be. It's Tom Coughlin. Tom Coughlin coaches Boston College.

They beat number one Notre Dame. He leaves, Boston College has never been the same. He goes to expansion Jacksonville. They make the playoffs four times.

I mean, they were like nine and seven, 11 and five, 11 and five, 14 and two. He leaves Jacksonville. Eventually, they unravel.

He goes to, at the time, the New York Giants, who were a little bit of a mess. And over time, he takes Eli Manning-- career, 59% completion guy-- and wins two Super Bowls, beats Belichick and beats Brady as an underdog both times. Then he leaves the Giants.

Two years later, they're the most juvenile team in the NFL. He goes to Jacksonville, which has had talent for three years but can't get it right. And now they are in the AFC Championship.

Let me tell you something. Tom Coughlin is every bit Belichick. He just didn't have Brady, OK?

If you give Coughlin Brady, we could be looking at a different history. Because he's faced Belichick twice without the quarterback and beat him both times in a Super Bowl. We know Jacksonville's had talent, but they've won 22 games in the previous six years.

Coughlin arrives, they're 10 and 6, 2 and 0 in the playoffs, 2 and 0 against the Steelers, and have a real shot to beat Tom Brady. A grown up showed up.

He'll never get the credit of Paul Brown in the '50s, Lombardi in the '60s, Bill Walsh in the '80s, Parcells and Jimmy Johnson. But you know what those guys mostly had too-- or Belichick? All-time quarterbacks.

Like Coughlin with Eli-- and if you remember, I think he was winning down in Jacksonville with, like, Mark Brunell, who-- good quarterback. Eli kind of-- you know, had lefty, clever, mobile, but, you know, not an all-timer. I just think Coughlin's amazing. I don't think it's a coincidence. He shows up to Jacksonville, and they are completely buttoned up. They don't make their mistakes that previous Jacksonville teams had.

What were they last year, 3 and 13? They had 85% of this roster. Now, they got Fournette and they got Jalen Ramsey-- I mean, a couple guys here. But, I mean, you know, they had most of this roster in the last few years.