Coughlin has experience edge
Youth vs. experience is the overriding theme when comparing the coaches for tonight’s NFC Championship Game between the Giants and 49ers.
The Giants’ Tom Coughlin is coaching his fourth conference championship game (two with Jacksonville), putting him one victory from a second Super Bowl. The former Boston College mentor has a better playoff winning percentage than Don Shula, Tom Landry, and Bill Parcells.
It’s been perplexing for months that many Giants fans were eager for a coaching change, especially when the team hit the meat of the schedule and lost four straight.
Coughlin stayed the course, never panicked, made sure his players kept their focus and look where he has them now.
For the last four weeks, the Giants have been perfectly prepared, resourceful and more energetic than their opponents.
After a spectacular stint at the Stanford helm, Jim Harbaugh’s first pro season as a head coach of the Niners has been wildly successful.
He changed the attitude in a once-divisive locker room, made his players believe in themselves, and provided a steady presence for the likes of quarterback Alex Smith, tight end Vernon Davis, and wide receiver Michael Crabtree.
He has a difficult chore coaching against a master such as Coughlin, but Harbaugh certainly won’t back down.
The Giants scored 394 points and were extremely efficient down the stretch to win the NFC East, and they’ve continued that in the playoffs, mixing in big plays with ball security. They have gotten huge contributions from WRs Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham, and just enough rushing from Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs . . . The Niners allowed an NFC-low 229 points this season. They have strong coverage backs in Carlos Rodgers and Dashon Goldson, each of whom had six interceptions. San Francisco also might be the best tackling team in the NFL, and Donte Whitner’s hit on Pierre Thomas last week displayed that . . . The Niners’ David Akers set a league mark with 44 field goals this season.