There's no more second-guessing Tom Coughlin

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There's no more second-guessing Tom Coughlin

From Comcast SportsNet
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- No more hot seat for Tom Coughlin. No more second-guessing. The 65-year-old Coughlin made NFL history on Sunday, becoming the oldest coach to win a Super Bowl by guiding the Giants to a 21-17 victory over New England for his second NFL championship in four years. "What I was concerned with was these guys making their own history," Coughlin said. "This is such a wonderful thing, these guys carving their own history." The Giants did that by capturing the franchise's fourth Super Bowl championship. New York only trails Pittsburgh with six, and San Francisco and Dallas with five, and became the first team to win the title after finishing the regular season 9-7. Coughlin and Hall of Fame candidate Bill Parcells are the only coaches to lead the Giants to two Super Bowl titles, and this game was as wild as New York's 17-14 win over the Patriots in 2008 for his first championship. "Each one is very unique, and this one is just as exciting, probably more so because of the kind of year we had," Coughlin said after seeing Tom Brady's desperation pass into the end zone fall incomplete. "What a wonderful experience it was to see the team come together like they did. Our defense started to play very well, we gained some confidence, and as they say the rest is history." That history will show was that it was Coughlin who kept this team together through early season injuries, a four-game midseason losing streak and a depressing loss to Washington in game No. 14 when they lost a share of first place with a no-show performance. Instead of getting upset, Coughlin told his team everything was still within their grasp, and they went out and took it all, winning their final six games. The final one was the most thrilling with two-time MVP Eli Manning leading an 88-yard drive that Ahmad Bradshaw capped with a 6-yard touchdown run with 57 seconds to go on a play the Patriots let the running back score to save time. "We won so many games like this, at the end of the game, the end of the fourth quarter," Coughlin said. "We talked about finishing all the time and winning the fourth quarter, being the stronger team, making the plays, and it happened again." It marked the seventh time that Manning had led a fourth-quarter comeback this season, and it's become the norm in a season that Coughlin has talked of nothing more than finishing games. "That last drive, looking at each other in the huddle, looking in each other's eyes, we said we're going to finish this things," tackle David Diehl said. The Giants didn't finish games the previous two years and they missed the playoffs. In his final pregame speech Saturday, Coughlin talked about finishing again, players believing in themselves and playing for each other. His final topic was family and love, not what one would expect from a man who is known as a disciplinarian. Coughlin, however, has learned how to reach young players lately and this message sunk in. "It was very passionate," defensive captain Justin Tuck said. "We could have come out and played at that point, we were so excited. It was hard sleep after a speech like that. I don't know what it is about Coach Coughlin, but his Super Bowl speeches, I give them a 10. They got me ready to play. I know he looks dull at times, but he is a fiery guy. You could tell it was from the heart." Coughlin not only motivated his team, he probably outcoached Bill Belichick. The Giants outgained the Patriots 396-349, and held the ball more than 37 minutes. Once again, New York won the turnover battle 1-0, giving them a 12-2 advantage in their six-game winning streak. Coordinator Kevin Gilbride's offense probably should have put up more points and Perry Fewell's' defense kept the Patriots off the scoreboard for the final 26:20. "It can't get much better," Giants chief executive John Mara said. "To have it happen one time, the way it did four years ago, was pretty incredible. To have it happen twice is hard to put into words." Coughlin laughed when asked about being a candidate for the Hall of Fame, but it's obvious his recent accomplishments have put him on the hall's radar. He downplayed matching Parcells' Super Bowl win total. "I'm very thankful and very grateful for the opportunity that I've had as a head coach of the New York Giants," Coughlin said. "The wonderful players that I have worked with, the coaches that have surrounded us and the support from ownership, that's what this is all about." And there is no doubt Coughlin will have that ownership support for as long as he wants.

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

Red Sox recall Sam Travis, send Velázquez back to Pawtucket

BOSTON -- On the list of Red Sox problems, finding a platoon partner for Mitch Moreland at first base isn't high on the list. But the others -- third base, fifth starter -- aren't solvable at the moment, so the Sox turned to one they think they can solve.

Today they recalled Sam Travis from Pawtucket, most likely to provide relief for Moreland against left-handed pitching. Travis' path to the majors was delayed by a knee injury that cost him a good chunk of the 2016 season -- otherwise, odds are good he'd have been here by now -- but he signaled his readiness by recovering from a 5-for-36 start with a sizzling .344 average in 90 at-bats since April 22 that includes six doubles and three home runs. His OPS in that span is .909.

Most importantly, Travis crushes left-handed pitching. He's hit .358 (93-for-260) against them in his professional career, and is .414 (12-for-29) against them this year. 

Hector Velázquez was sent back to the PawSox to make room for Travis, ensuring another roster move later this week. After Kyle Kendrick's failed attempt to take control of the fifth spot in the starting rotation, Velázquez was called up and given a shot in Oakland last Thursday night. He allowed six earned runs over five innings, failing the test. And thus the search for a fifth starter -- at least until David Price returns -- continues.

Price will make a rehab start in Pawtucket tomorrow and could return to Boston after that, but the Sox will need a pitcher for Saturday's game against Seattle. Even if Price is cleared to return to Boston, he won't be able to pitch Saturday on two days' rest.

Now-and-again Fun League? NFL lightens up on touchdown celebrations

Now-and-again Fun League? NFL lightens up on touchdown celebrations

Roger Goodell announced on Tuesday that the NFL would ease off its restrictions on touchdown celebrations going forward. 

"Just as NFL teams use the offseason to get better, at the league we use this time to listen to players, coaches, officials and fans about how we can continue to improve our great game.," he said in a statement. " . . . Today, we are excited to tell you about another change that comes after conversations with more than 80 current and former players: we are relaxing our rules on celebrations to allow players more room to have fun after they make big plays."

Using the football as a prop, celebrating on the ground and group celebrations will all be allowed after scores under the new policy.

"Offensive demonstrations, celebrations that are prolonged and delay the game, and those directed at an opponent, will still be penalized," Goodell explained.