Why does Waterloo have a vested interest in the Super Bowl?
Tue, 31 Jan 2012 06:00:21 GMT —
Waterloo New York:
Population: Around 5,000
Super Bowl Rings: 1 (potentially two this Sunday)
That's because New York Giants Head Coach Tom Coughlin is a native of the small Central New York town, located just west of Seneca Falls and about 38 miles west of Syracuse.
Coughlin was a star on the high school football, basketball and baseball teams at Waterloo High School graduating in 1964. From there, Waterloo's favorite son went on to play football at Syracuse University. After working his way through the coaching ranks the better part of the last 40+ years, Coughlin finds himself as the head coach in the Super Bowl for the second time in the last five years.
As you can imagine, Coughlin (which should be pronounced "Caulk-lin" as it is in Waterloo) is a hero to residents young and old in the proclaimed "Home of Memorial Day". No doubt, he is the talk of the town this week, as New York readies to battle New England in Super Bowl 46.
"Pretty much we're not known for much in Waterloo, so it's pretty nice to have an NFL star doing his thing." said Aaron Fowler, a bartender at a local restaurant. Fowler tells me that as soon as football season comes around, Coughlin and the Giants become the hot topic at his bar at Abigail's.
People I met on the street knew why I was in Waterloo on this sunny Monday, as I briefly spoke with a couple residents while visiting a mural painted on the side of Harry's Tavern which does a magnificent job of capturing Coughlin's career.
Of course, the high school is where is legacy shines the brightest. In the athletic wing, there's a case filled with different compliments to Coughlin and the football field, newly redone in 2005 bears the name "Tom Coughlin Stadium". Coughlin helped ring in the ceremonies on that rainy Friday night just over six years ago.
Joe Sposato, a long time coach and Athletic Director at Waterloo has known Coughlin his whole life, and actually served as a ball boy on the football team when Coughlin was a player. He still keeps in touch with Coughlin, who still has three sisters living in Waterloo, and says the biggest life lessons Coughlin gave him didn't come when he was a child, as you might suspect.
"More so when I told him I was going to retire, and he didn't want me to". Sposato responded when asked if there's any advice or life lessons Coughlin may have provided for him.
"I've probably had more advice from him in the last two years than I ever did before! But, he led by example I would say and having known him, having watched him have one of the greatest careers, you could say. I'm just hoping he can get over the top and win another Super Bowl." Sposato added.
So while no question, Coughlin and the Giants have thousands, if not millions of fans rooting them on this Sunday, there's no debate, that the most passionate of those fans are the 5,000 residents of Waterloo, hoping their native son can be crowned champion of the football world again.