Tom Coughlin comes full circle in the Hoosier state

So much for giving a line that would inspire the masses to describe the second coming of the biggest moment of his career.

But if you looking for a zany line, it's not coming from Tom Coughlin.

He's won straight-forward in New York for five years, and when it came time for him to sum it up, he did rather plainly.

"The greatest feeling in professional sports is to win the Super Bowl," said Coughlin in a very calm yet classy way to describe his Giant's 21-17 win over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI Sunday nigh at Lucas Oil Stadium. 

Its a straight forward approach that was apparent 18 years before the big game in Indianapolis, when Coughlin sat in the opponents locker room at Notre Dame. Mike Vega, a writer for the Boston Globe who was then the Eagles' beat writer, found a very calm Coughlin sitting down, drinking a coca-cola as if nothing had really happened.

"Do you realize you just beat Notre Dame?" said Vega towards Coughlin who responded "Yeah, but now we've got to get ready for West Virginia."

What's odd, actually, is that Coughlin had a lot more to look forward to than he could have ever dreamed thanks to one wild afternoon in South Bend.

It was on that day that Coughlin, a third-year head coach at Boston College, took his team into Notre Dame Stadium to face the top-ranked Irish. It was just a week after Lou Holtz led Notre Dame to a 31-24 victory over then number-one Florida State in what was dubbed at the time as the "Game of the Century."

"It looked like for all intensive purposes they were going to win the national championship," said Vega of the Irish-and there wasn't much reason to think so.

They year before Boston College had made the same trip to Indiana and were humbled 54-7 by the Irish, who would go onto finish that season 10-1-1. In 1993, Notre Dame sported an 11-0 record as they hosted the Eagles, who had recovered from two opening losses to win seven straight games.

"Those guys stewed all year long about that beating that they took," said Vega-and it showed during three dominant quarters.

With an array of trick plays and creative formations the Eagles jumped out the Irish right out of the gate, leading 10-0 in the first quarter. A shell shocked Notre Dame team continued to fall behind as Boston College quarterback Glenn Foley took to the air to help the Eagles grab a 38-17 lead in the fourth quarter.

"I remember it as a great football game," said Coughlin at Super Bowl media day of the game. "We jumped out and then the Lou Holtz-coached Notre Dame team came roaring back."

All the way back, in fact. Irish quarterback Kevin McDougal ignited a stagnate Notre Dame offense by leading them on three consecutive scoring drives-including a two-point conversion mixed in. When the quarterback hit a diving Lake Dawson with just under a minute left, the Irish somehow had rallied to take a 39-38 lead.

But time remained for the star-crossed Eagles. A personal foul penalty by Notre Dame on the kickoff, a dropped interception by Irish linebacker Pete Burcich, and a few timely Foley throws set up kicker David Gordon from 41 yards out.

With four seconds left, Foley snagged the high snap and got it down in time. Gordon approached and hit a wobbly dart towards the uprights on the tunnel side of the stadium. Pretty, it wasn't. But when the ball got over the goalpost by five yards as the clock hit zero, Boston College had its biggest win in school history.

Coughlin jumped and hugged his way toward midfield as the dusk settled over the the 59,075 mostly-stunned Irish fans.

"I remember completely," said Coughlin of Gordon's field goal-and so did many around the country.

After the season he left to go to Jacksonville to be the first head coach of the expansion Jaguars. Coughlin got the team to the AFC Championship Game in 1996 and 1999 but the lost in each and when his team went 6-10 in 2002, he was fired.

Two years later Coughlin resurfaced in New York and in 2007 he found himself back in the conference championship game. As the sixth seed, the Giants beat the third and number one seeds in the conference then survived a below-zero tussle in Green Bay, winning in overtime on a Lawrence Tynes field goal.

In Super Bowl XLII, his team pulled one of the greatest upsets in NFL history when the scored in the final minutes to beat the previously undefeated Patriots 17-14 in Glendale, Arizona for Coughlin's first Super Bowl championship.

Four years later, nearly they exact same scenario played out as the Giants used a late Ahmed Bradshaw score to beat New England again for another Lombardi Trophy at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Many pundits who were in Indiana for the Super Bowl began to talk about Coughlin being a candidate for the NFL Hall of Fame. Its a far cry from a coach who went to South Bend 18 years ago hoping to take a program to the elite level of college football.

But in his quiet nature, it was not his own career to which he reflected when asked about the lasting impact of the Irish upset.

"It means a lot because of the young men that played for us at Boston College at the time and what they were able to accomplish when no one gave them a chance," said Coughlin.