That's what is happening now. The Giants (12-7) are playing their best football heading into the Super Bowl, having won five in a row, including the last two on the road.
"Warmer? Fuzzier? I don't know if I'd use those adjectives, but he's lightened up a lot and we made reference to that four years ago when we were here," said guard Chris Snee, the coach's son-in-law. "How he kind of changed in that regard, getting to know players more, getting players to know the softer side of him, the side that family members see. He shows that, but then again he still has his beliefs that he sticks to. That's what makes him more successful."
A strong devotion to his family does that, too.
"There is nothing that makes him more happy than to have his family around. I know he is thrilled to be here this week with all 10 of his grandchildren," daughter Keli said. "They all won't be necessarily at the game, but they will be sharing in the experience, so that is special."
Aside from the Giants and the Coughlin Clan, there's also another group near and dear to the coach: members of the military.
He traveled to Iraq in 2009 to visit the troops and he has had a close relationship with Lt. Col. Greg Gadson, an Army officer who lost his legs in combat.
Whenever Coughlin notices military personnel in the stadium or on the road, he never hesitates to stop and say hello; his players usually follow his lead and do the same.
In the offseason, Coughlin devotes to his Jay Fund Foundation, a charity that helps families deal with childhood cancer. He founded it to honor one of his first Boston College players, Jay McGillis, who died of leukemia, and serves as president of the board.
Visiting sick children is part of the job.
"He relates to them, whether it's a sick child who is working with the fund or a family member," said Keli, who serves as executive director of the fund. "He is always concerned how people are doing. He is a caretaker. Maybe that's just his personality."
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