Earlier this season, I compared the New York Giants to last season’s Dallas Cowboys—a team with great expectations that got off to a hot start and then plummeted.
With yesterday’s home loss to the Carolina Panthers, the Giants proved that assumption in more ways than one. Not only will they miss the playoffs, but they were embarrassed in their final game in Giants Stadium just as the Cowboys were against the Ravens in Texas Stadium last December.
The Giants have been the equivalent of a manic depressive all season. One game they’re dominant and win with ease, and the next they don’t look like they ever even got out of bed.
Losing is one thing. Showing no effort is another. The Giants' lack of effort reminds me of their play during Jim Fassel’s final season in 2003, when the team quit at midseason.
In a season where Eli Manning threw for the most touchdowns of his career, it’s horribly ironic that it’s the same year the defense collapses. The Giants defense used to be their trademark. During this season, but especially yesterday, when Panthers RB Jonathan Stewart carried the ball, the defense seemed to think merely touching him would knock him down.
After the 2007 Giants won the Super Bowl, many pointed out how everyone wanted Tom Coughlin fired the previous season. Yesterday’s loss reminded us all of why we did. The supposed disciplinarian often looked lost during this season.
This year further proved a common belief in many Giants fans' minds—That the real reason for the Super Bowl win was defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo left to coach the Rams, and Bill Sheridan became defensive coordinator.
Perhaps it’s time the Giants dust off a play from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in trading for a coach. With the Rams almost assured of finishing with the worst record, perhaps it could be applicable on both sides.
The only thing for certain is that no matter what players you have or get in the future, if you can’t motivate them to play, you’re not going to win any games (unless it’s against the Redskins, Raiders, or Chiefs.)