Giants players found Tom Coughlin’s ruddy cheeks so hilarious they couldn’t listen to what he was saying.
The iconic image of the Giants’ 2008 Super Bowl run is obviously the David Tyree helmet catch, but Tom Coughlin’s cherry-red cheeks were a close second.
When the Giants and Packers faced off in the NFC Championship Game in Green Bay, it was -1 degrees with a -23 degree wind chill. As several former players told Sports Illustrated’s Ben Baskin and Greg Bishop for an oral history this week, it was cold. But no one was more visibly miserable than Coughlin, whose cheeks took on the color of his team’s road uniforms.
According to multiple players, Coughlin’s ruddy hue was concerning enough that it distracted from what he was trying to tell them.
Chris Snee: It was hard to pay attention to what Coach was saying because of how red his face was. I remember talking to Eli a few days after. He said he didn’t pay attention to a word coach said because of how red his cheeks were.
David Diehl: Everyone is sitting there as he’s getting us ready to go for the second half, and it’s hard not to stare at him like, is his face ok? Is he going to be alright in the second half? You’re looking at him and just hoping that he’s safe. His face was really red.
Jeff Feagles: His chin was frozen. His cheeks were so red I thought he was going to get frostbite forever.
Jared Lorenzen: You couldn’t look at him and take him seriously. If you ended up looking at him you’re going to wander off and think, I wonder how long he’s going to last. It was the reddest I’d ever seen anybody, almost to purple. He was like, hey we need to make these adjustments, and we were like, hey you need to put on a mask or something.
Archie Manning: Whoo. It was pretty rosy. We were all concerned about his face that night.
When the Giants won the Super Bowl again four years later, the road went through Green Bay once more, though it was a balmy 31 degrees that night. Unfortunately, the forecast for Sunday’s game calls for temperatures in the single digits. Ben McAdoo better ask his predecessor for some tips.