Before his run to the playoffs and a Super Bowl title in 2007, Tom Coughlin was reportedly on the verge of being fired as head coach of the New York Giants. They defeated the then-undefeated New England Patriots in a massive upset, but it was just one of many major upsets in Coughlin's career, spanning his jobs in both the pro and college ranks.
Sports Illustrated's Kerry J. Byrne chronicled the other major upsets that Coughlin has pulled off in his coaching career. Even though three of his biggest wins as a coach came more than ten years before his Super Bowl triumph, it's incredible that one coach has pulled off four upsets of the magnitude of the wins he's recorded with Boston College, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Giants.
Though this Giants team looks more dangerous than the 2007 team and the Patriots' defense isn't as formidable, this would still constitute a big upset, as Byrne points out.
The 2007 Giants scored 373 points and surrendered 351. That +22 scoring differential is the worst of any Super Bowl champion. In fact, only one NFL champion (since 1940) was worse: Bobby Layne and the 1957 Lions were +20.
The 2011 Giants, meanwhile, were even worse: they scored 394 points and surrendered 400 (a fact lost on many analysts at this point in the season). That -6 scoring differential is the worst of any team to reach the Super Bowl.
At this moment in time, the Giants deserve to be in the Super Bowl and they should prove to be a very worthy match for the Patriots, but the combination of luck and late heroics that they required to get to this point are virtually unprecedented.