Tom Coughlin understands quite well what it means to be a caregiver.
The two-time Super Bowl-winning former head coach of the Giants opened up about his life as his wife’s primary caretaker during a pre Super Bowl feature that aired on NBC Sunday afternoon.
“The idea of being a caregiver is a very difficult thing. It’s mentally and physically exhausting,” Coughlin said. “Don’t be afraid to say, ‘Can I have a little help?’”
Judy Coughlin suffers from progressive supranuclear palsy, an incurable brain disorder, which she was diagnosed with in 2019.
Out of the public light for the better part of the last two years to care for Judy, Tom gave a small glimpse into what daily life in his household is like these days.
“Routines are important with people who have her disease,” Coughlin said in the video. “Our children and our grandchildren, they would like to have her hold them in her arms, look them in the eye, call them by name and tell them that she loves them. She can’t do that anymore.”
The disease takes away a person’s ability to speak, walk and “steals from your ability to show emotions,” Tom explained in Sunday’s video.
Former Giants of Coughlin’s Super Bowl winning teams, Eli Manning and Justin Tuck, also made appearances in Sunday’s video to talk about Judy.
“Leaving the locker room after the game and you could just count on it every single time, just getting a hug from Judy. She was always there with a smile,” Manning said.
Added Tuck, “Judy is an angel on Earth.”
Coughlin, in an essay published in The New York Times, revealed Judy’s diagnosis in August of 2021, explaining her condition as the reason for her absence from public appearances for the couple’s Jay Foundation, a charitable organization founded by the Coughlin’s to help children with cancer and their families.
It was also his reason for staying far away from football.
“Our hearts are broken. Judy has been everything to our family,” Coughlin wrote. “For the past four years, we’ve helplessly watched her go from a gracious woman with a gift for conversation, hugging all the people she met and making them feel they were the most important person in the room, to losing almost all ability to speak and move.”
Coughlin was the Giants’ head coach for 12 years before stepping down in January of 2016. He was then hired as the Jaguars’ vice president of football operations, a position he held until team own Shad Khan fired him in 2019.