"You aspire to coach in the greatest game of all, and that is the Super Bowl," Coughlin said Friday. "That's the type of fulfillment that can be shared by all and that's something you would remember for a lifetime."
Coughlin was engaging and even smiled for photographs while holding a New York Giants helmet, but he passed on a chance to have his photo taken with the Lombardi Trophy. He'll wait until Sunday, when his team -- a 12-point underdog -- takes on Belichick's undefeated New England Patriots.
"You have to believe that you have an opportunity, a chance to win or else you aren't representing your team very well," Coughlin said. "We are going to play as hard as we can. We are going to throw all of it out on the field and do the very best we can to try and win the world championship."
A lot has been made this week of how Coughlin has transformed himself from an iron-fisted coach to a kinder, gentler disciplinarian.
"The decision at the end of last year on my part," he said, "was I felt like I had to do a better job of communicating with everyone, with the working media, with those in the Giants organization and with our players."
He was particularly animated after Lawrence Tynes had one of his two missed kicks against Green Bay in the NFC championship. The coach was asked if his yelling, as Tynes jogged to the sideline, was a display of tough love.
"It was tough love, that's exactly what it was, tough love," Coughlin said playfully. "I actually yelled out, 'How's the weather out there?' because over on the sidelines, it was cold. It was kind of chilly. Lawrence does a great job of pretty much, as some of the veteran players do, making sure they don't hear a word I say."
Meanwhile, Belichick was, well, Belichick -- stiff and businesslike.
"I think it's the biggest game of all for our football team because it's the next game," he said. "It's the next game and it's the Super Bowl. It's for the championship, so I can't think of a bigger game than that. We're here and that's what we're here for."
Belichick said he and Coughlin are quite similar, but, not surprisingly, wouldn't go into much detail.
"I think we both try to do what is best for our football team," he said. "As it gets into specifics, that would be a game-to-game and a very technical conversation."
Asked if there was anything he wanted to discuss that hadn't been touched on yet, Belichick said, with just a hint of a smile: "I think everything has been covered pretty thoroughly by you guys. I give you a lot of credit."
Any thoughts about New York City planning a victory parade for the Giants on Tuesday?
"Not really," he said with one of the few chuckles he allowed himself. "Right now, our thoughts are on the game Sunday afternoon against the Giants."
Belichick had a similar response to what would be left for him to accomplish if the Patriots finish 19-0 and join the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL teams to have perfect seasons.
After narrowly escaping an upset by New York in Week 17, New England has some experience with some of the strategy the Giants might employ in the Super Bowl. Still, that doesn't make the preparation any easier.
"I think each game takes on its own personality," Belichick said. "There are some elements of that game that probably will carry a similar pattern. I think there will be other elements that will be different."
Coughlin bemoaned the Giants surrendering the lead late against the Patriots, who erased a 28-16 second-half deficit by scoring three consecutive touchdowns.
"I think the experience that we had was typical," Coughlin said. "We talk about trying to win the fourth quarter, and obviously, the fourth quarter was the time when the Patriots exerted themselves. I think with a football team as dynamic as they are, you do have to answer pretty much every time something happens."