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The story of Jesse Palmer telling Tom Coughlin he was going to be 'The Bachelor' has an all-time twist ending

February 02, 2023

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, Jesse Palmer was THE Bachelor. At the time a third-string quarterback on the New York Giants, Palmer was selected to be the headliner for Season Five, back when the now hit reality television show was still in its infancy.

Of course, it's come a long way since, episodes 1 and 2 of Season 27 (!) having already aired, with Palmer as the damn host. Back then, though, the show was still gaining steam and was even a little ahead of its time in selecting a professional athlete in the middle of his career to be the main character. Somehow, Palmer had to explain this to new Giants head coach, Tom Coughlin, a notorious no-nonsense stickler for the rules.

As Palmer told the story on The Rich Eisen Show, it actually went better than expected. All Coughlin cared about was Palmer showing up for mini camp, which was not an issue. What Coughlin said during a mini camp practice, though, is the stuff of legend, and well worth the wait in this five-minute and 34-second long epic told by the former Florida Gator himself:

Hand up, my initial reaction was Coughlin was calling Jesse "Jessica" as a joke that would definitely fly in 2004 but would probably get Coughlin retroactively canceled in 2022. Turns out, Jessica Bowlin was who the one who made it all the way to the final rose in Season Five. Apparently, Palmer did not propose, though the two continued to date. That didn't last much longer, with Palmer ultimately getting married to Emely Fardo in 2020.

Anyway, Coughlin must have been paying attention, that or someone tipped him off. We'd rather live with the though of Coughlin hanging on the edge of his seat every Monday night back in the winter and spring of 2004, wondering if his third-string QB was going to make the worst decision of his life by getting engaged on a reality TV show. Imagine Tommy C having a Bachelor watch party? Dying at the thought. Well played, Tom, well played.