As the '07 season progressed, some of the same players who had questioned Coughlin's coaching methods began praising his leadership. They contend that his steadiness and open-mindedness were major factors in the Giants' success.
"When somebody says they're going to change, you always wonder, Well, are they just saying that because it's training camp or it's the off-season?" center Shaun O'Hara said after a midseason win. "But when we were 0-2, he didn't revert back to the way he's always done things. We're talking about a coach who has basically taken everything he's always done and said, 'O.K., I'm going to change.' He almost reinvented himself."
Asked about his transformation in late October, Coughlin chuckled. "What I've done is let them see me as I really am, the good and the bad," he said. "They're also seeing a little more patience on my part. I'm not so quick to fly off the handle, but rather I listen a little bit better.
"From Day One the first thing I did in camp was talk about team, to put greater emphasis on the idea that we would only be as successful as we were unselfish and we had to check our egos at the door. That included me. I told the players that I don't really have an agenda. All I want to do is win."
He did just that in Super Bowl XLII, but it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't first won over his players.