Tony DeMeo


Earn the Right to Win

Tom Coughlin had a tough season in 2014 & not too good a season in 2013 but make no mistake he is a very good football coach. Tom paid his dues over the years and developed a system for producing winning football teams. This system has worked for him at every stop that he has made in his long coaching career. This system produced two Super Bowl Championships for Coach Coughlin in his time with the NY Giants. The Tom Coughlin System is what attracted me to the book Earn the Right to Win. I wanted to read what went into the Tom Coughlin system. I am a strong believer in developing systems that produce excellence when properly executed. I have developed systems & philosophies that have been successful and I strongly recommend that every leader develop his own system.

These are some of the key ingredients of the Tom Coughlin System as described in this excellent book: Earn the Right to Win.

  1. Build the Structure – Tom developed the system at a small Division III, Rochester Institute of Technology, and turned around that football program. One of the first steps is to develop a clear goal and then a detailed plan of how to get there. Create an overall culture by establishing rules and enforcing them.
  2. Scheduling – Use your time wisely. Make the most of every minute. Make a schedule and make sure everyone follows it – keep everyone on the same page.
  3. Success is in the details – John Wooden always said that “little things make big things happen” Tom Coughlin is clearly a John Wooden follower as is your truly. I always had a thin playbook so we could focus on the details which led to better execution. The fewer the plays the more practice time for each play. Coughlin also believes in studying numbers. Moneyball has taught everyone the importance of stats.
  4. Communication – Send a clear and positive message. No one listens to screaming so take your emotion out of the message. Change when necessary as long as you stick to your core values.
  5. Motivation – Pride is the foundation of motivation. Tom believes you build pride by having a first class operation. I believe that’s the reason some programs are perpetual cellar dwellers – they won’t invest enough to be first class in facilities, equipment, salaries etc. Coughlin also says that players will try to please those they respect.
  6. Hard Work is Good Practice – One of the key pillars of the “Tony DeMeo System” is Practice is Sacred. Tom Coughlin reaffirms this notion. Practice is preparation. Practice is the place where habits are formed. Good habits lead you to good performance – nothing could be any simpler than that. In my new book Commonsense Rules for Everyday Leaders I devote an entire chapter to the idea that “Hard Work Works.”

This book, Earn the Right to Win, is a great insight into a two time Super Bowl winning coach’s belief system and how he used his system to achieve success. Tom Coughlin paid his dues in the world of coaching without a lot of fanfare and rose to the pinnacle of his profession. His system may not be sexy and flashy but it is successful. I recommend this book – it’s an easy read and you’ll gain some Super Bowl wisdom.