IRVING, Texas – In his first year as coach of the New York Giants, in 2004, Tom Coughlin decided he would not call the plays.
He did it on and off during his tenure in Jacksonville from 1995 to 2002 and had success, with two appearances in the AFC Championship Game. He called the plays at Boston College before that.
But after sitting out a year, Coughlin decided to delegate the authority when he took over the Giants. It’s worked out pretty well for him -- with two Super Bowl wins.
As Jason Garrett prepares for his first season without the play-calling responsibilities with the Dallas Cowboys, Coughlin offers the glass-half-full example for what it could mean for Garrett.
“It’s your personality and your beliefs and how you choose to spend your time, but there was a point in time for me, I just said, ‘You know what, I've got to be the head coach of the entire team,” Coughlin said. “I thought I was spending so much time trying to be prepared for the play-calling duties that I felt like it was maybe closing some doors of opportunity for me to be involved in motivation of our players, the management of our players to a better extreme. So that was the reason for me. I do think that it does allow you to become very, very familiar with the opponent. It does allow you to be in position perhaps to be a situation or a play or a series ahead from where you might be if you were the play caller. It also allows you, I think, to get more involved in special teams, which is so critical.”
After the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 4 Garrett admitted that not calling plays was a strange experience, but he has appeared much more forceful with the players and on top of situations before they could become dicey.
“You've got to understand your other responsibility,” Coughlin said. “You just invest your time in different ways, and you’re hoping to enrich the entire program because of it.”