No Joke: Old Guys (and Gals) Rule

Feb 20, 2012

Comedian Jimmy Fallon cracked the following joke in his opening monologue on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 on his show “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon”:

“At age 64, Giants coach Tom Coughlin could become the oldest coach to win the Super Bowl. Instead of saying ‘I’m going to Disney World,’ he’ll be like: ‘I’m going to walk around the mall before it opens.’”

That stereotype took a hit: Four days later, Coughlin’s New York Giants won Super Bowl XLVI, toppling the New England Patriots, 21-17. Coughlin, the oldest coach in the National Football League, has now won two Super Bowls in the last four years.

Talk about a generation gap: Coughlin is 30-40 years older than his players. He’s managed to inspire and lead people many years younger in one of the most competitive environments in America.

Football writers and analysts have commented on the reasons for Coughlin’s success (although of course some of those same analysts in the past have called for him to be fired at various points in the past couple of seasons).

What has contributed to Coughlin’s success? Here are some key traits he displays:

Discipline – The Giants’ coach brings structure and methods to his team.

Experience – Coughlin served as an assistant coach on NFL teams and also worked at the college level. Others gave him an opportunity to take responsibility and grow as a coach.

Judgment – The basic success of any professional coach depends on finding the right combination of talented players, and then coaching them to success. That means Coughlin needed systems for discerning what traits he was looking for in players, and then methods for coaching them. That’s another way of saying his effectiveness was by design (born of experience), not by accident.

Interdependence – A coach’s success is proportional to the success that his players and coaching staff achieve. A coach has to win with his team, not despite them. A team needs leaders and workers to have success.

What traits do you see in effective, experienced managers and leaders (whether men or women) that you’ve worked with and for in the insurance industry?
Photo courtesy


Stay in the loop

Subscribe to our newsletter and get insights into what's going on in the insurance industry right in your inbox.