There are few things more terrifying to Patriots fans than the following combination of events:
1) The Patriots have the NFC East on the schedule.
2) The idea of Giants quarterback Eli Manning as elite is laughable.
3) Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat.
This happens every four seasons and it's ruined two of New England's Super Bowl bids. There are fewer things more difficult than playing the same team multiple times in a season, while Eli Manning seems to go Playoff Joe Flacce when his back is up against the wall.
But possibly the most interesting of these point is the idea of coach Coughlin on the hot seat. He's likely a future Hall of Fame candidate (two Super Bowl victories with the Giants and he brought the expansion Jaguars to the playoffs and a conference championship), and he's the oldest head coach in the league, turning 69 prior to the start of the 2015 season.
Coughlin isn't just letting the calendar turn pages. He's trying to improve in his 20th season as an NFL head coach. Apparently, Coughlin requested a study to help him better understand the younger players in the league. He's realized that the youth of today has completely different priorities from his generation, and the players from years in between, and that he has to adjust if he wants to capitalize on his players' capabilities.
If we want to draw a parallel, this is like Tom Brady learning how to scramble at the age of 37. It doesn't have to happen, but the fact that they've put in the effort to develop at this stage in their career should be lauded.
Of course, I can't imagine Bill Belichick doing something similar. He's not a Pete Carroll. He doesn't want to be a player's best friend because that will only make the business decisions even more difficult. Instead, Belichick offers a highly demanding, yet flexibly reciprocal relationship. He wants his players to fit into the system in place, but he's willing to adjust that system depending on the players he has on hand.
That's not to say that Bill Belichick couldn't use a little help in understanding what the kids are up to these days. Belichick has enough struggles with technology today, that it wouldn't be surprising if he hired his son to be his official "hey, how do I use this tablet?" assistant. Whether it's a car clock, or MyFace, or Photoshop, or end zone cameras, or the internets, Belichick ain't interested in learning how it's done.
The study that was provided to Coughlin is interesting in and of itself. It shows how the management styles of the 80s aren't as effective with the new employees entering the work force due to developmental changes in upbringing and environment. The players today are just as likely to work as hard, but would rather do it on their own time than under the thumb of an authority figure. They want to be known for more than just their profession.
It's a shrinking world as everything becomes more connected- and at the same time, the world has grown with greater possibilities than ever before.
The only constant will be Bill Belichick and his car clock.