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Giants have deep connections to conference championship coaches

The New York Giants may not be in the NFL’s version of the Final Four this weekend, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be any familiar faces to Giant fans when they tune in.

All four heads coaches this weekend have deep ties to the Giants and for many long-time followers of the team, the sight of these four men bring back many memories, both glorious and bittersweet.

Here’s a brief rundown of each of their connections:

In the AFC, the Kansas City Chiefs will host the first ever championship game in their 60 year existence when they face off against the defending conference champion New England Patriots.

The Chiefs are coached by Andy Reid, a long-time Giants nemesis who ran the hated Philadelphia Eagles from 1999 through 2012. Over the period, Reid amassed a record of 17 wins and 14 losses to Big Blue and commandeered some of the Birds’ most memorable victories over the Giants. Only Tom Landry, the legendary coach of the Dallas Cowboys in the 60s, 70s and 80s has beaten the Giants more.

Reid is also owns a prolific coaching tree. Having come from the Mike Holmgren tree (which can be traced back to Paul Brown through Bill Walsh), Reid has developed quite a few head coaches himself — Todd Bowles, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, John Harbaugh, Sean McDermott, Marty Mornhinweg, Matt Nagy, Doug Pederson and Ron Rivera — not to mention former Giants defensive coordinator and interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo and current Giants head coach Pat Shurmur.

Bill Belichick is in his 19th season as the Patriots’ head coach. He has forged a Hall of Fame legacy winning the AFC Championship eight times in 10 tries and capturing five Super Bowls. Belichick has 290 wins, placing him third behind Don Shula and George Halas for the most victories by an NFL head coach. His .684 winning percentage is the highest in NFL history among coaches who have more than 160 victories.

Belichick will always be held in high regard by Giant fans for his brilliant tenure as an assistant from 1979-1990, where he coached Big Blue’s spectacular defense under Bill Parcells that included Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson. He won two Super Bowls with the Giants, but was also was on the losing end of another two Giants’ Super Bowl victories as head coach of the Pats.

In the NFC, the New Orleans Saints will host the Los Angeles Rams in a showdown of powerful offenses. The Saints are coached by Sean Payton, as they have been since 2006. Before Payton took the reins in Metairie, he was in Dallas where he served as the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach and assistant head coach under Bill Parcells.

Payton had previously been in East Rutherford on Jim Fassel’s staff, first as a quarterbacks coach and then as the offensive coordinator. Under Payton, the Giants reached the Super Bowl in 2000, losing to the Baltimore Ravens. Payton showed his trademark ability as a game planner and a play caller in revitalizing quarterback Kerry Collins’ career.

The Rams boast having the gold standard in young coaches in 32-year-old Sean McVay, who has a 25-9 (.735) record in his two years at the helm in LA. Almost every team seeking a new head coach is trying to find the next McVay. Good luck with that.

McVay’s connection to the Giants goes way back to before he was born. His grandfather, John, who coached Big Blue in the mid-to-late 1970s and was at the helm of perhaps the franchise’s most infamous moment — the 1978 “fumble” game against the Eagles. The elder McVay was fired by the Giants after the season and went on win five Super Bowls as Vice President of Football Operations for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s and 90s.

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