In their own words: Coughlin and Accorsi on football, fame and family

November 8, 2016 GMT

A wide-ranging conversation with former Giants coach Tom Coughlin and former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi was full of laughs, memories and quotable moments.

Here’s a sampling:

Coughlin, pointing to Accorsi: “The greatest storyteller in the history of the NFL, right there.”

Coughlin on his new job with the NFL: “It’s going all right, it’s good. My interest is really in the game, looking for ways we can improve the game. So much comes on the plate of the competition committee that isn’t the game.”

Accorsi on Coughlin’s bigger fame: “I’m going in with Coughlin, I’m going to get second billing. I’m used to that. I went into the Wake Forest Hall of Fame with Tim Duncan.”

Coughlin on his parting with the Giants, which wasn’t easy, a resignation billed as a mutual decision. The way it ended gave him no pause in returning for the Ring of Honor ceremony: “No, none at all. This is a tremendous honor. To be included with the names that are up on that wall, in the history of the National Football League, that is quite an honor.”

Manning on making one of his first post-Super Bowl phone calls to Accorsi: “I called him and thanked him, especially after the first one. He put a lot of those players on the team. Definitely a piece of that championship was his.”

Coughlin on growing up in a horse family, finding it was not for him: “Horses were in my family. My brother, my father, they had jobs but they always had horses. My grandfather would go to parochial school, tell the nuns my father had a dentist appointment, and they’d go to the track. I couldn’t sit. They would work the horses. Go in the tack room, sit around the potbelly stove, burn firewood, tell stories. It drove me nuts. I couldn’t do it. I’d go out and jog around the half-mile track.”

Accorsi on why neither he nor Coughlin chose the post-career television analyst route: “Marty Schottenheimer told me that 100 years ago. If you’re going to go on radio or TV, they’re going to want an opinion. IF you don’t want to give one, don’t go there.”

And in separate interviews with Giants co-owner John Mara and Eli Manning:

Mara on what his father, Wellington Mara, would have thought of Accorsi and Coughlin going into Giants Ring of Honor together: “He liked and respected both men very much. They were two of his favorite people in the world. We were very lucky to have Ernie on staff here when George Young stepped down. Tom was always one of his favorites going back to his time as an assistant coach. He would have been very pleased.”

Manning on being so closely tied to both men: “Those are two good names to be attached to.”