During an interview with YES Network’s “CenterStage,” Coughlin said he believes the Giants would have won the Super Bowl in 2008 if not for Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg.
“We were the best team in the NFL at the time of the shooting,” Coughlin said, per The Star-Ledger.
The Giants were 9-1 at the time Burress shot himself in the leg inside a New York nightclub while carrying a gun illegally. They won two more games in a row to go 11-1 before fizzling out. They lost three of their next four to finish 12-4 in the regular season, and they lost to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.
Though the Giants beefed up their record against some bad teams like the Rams, Bengals, and Seahawks, they beat both the Steelers and Cardinals, who wound up playing in the Super Bowl. We’ll never know what would have happened, but you could definitely argue that the Giants were in a position to compete for the Super Bowl until Burress shot himself. Not only did that cost them their best wide receiver, but it also was a big distraction.
Burress ended up going to jail and did not play another game with the Giants.