To many NFL teams, this offseason’s collective bargaining agreement is a dilemma which is merely a cause for concern. For the blue side of New York however, this concern could result in disaster.
Throughout the 1990’s, the New York Giants were seen as a perennial mediocrity, during which time, they won their division just twice in 14 years between the 1991 and 2004 campaigns. Since, the G-Men have seen relative success, winning the tough NFC East division in ’05 and ’08, whilst going on to win the Super Bowl in the ’07 campaign, despite entering the play-offs as a wild card team.
In New York however, there is no room for sentiments, and for fans of the Big Blue, losing is simply not an option. For the first time since their unexpected Super Bowl success in 2007, Tom Coughlin and his Giants find themselves on the hot seat. For them, the drawn out bargaining crisis, simply could not come at a worse time.
This off-season, a haul of no less than 21 Giants are set to become free agents, with around a half being starters during the 2010 campaign. The man faced with the unenviable task of ensuring this talent remains part of the Giants roster is GM Jerry Reese. His crucial job is to ensure the likes of Steve Smith, Ahmad Bradshaw and Mathias Kiwanuka remain permanent fixtures at The New Meadowlands for the foreseeable future.
Reflecting on the previous campaign, it is clear that the Giants have performance issues to address on the field, in addition to their aforementioned off field problems. Primarily, Tom Coughlin has one glaring issue to address from 2010, Turnovers. With 25 interceptions on the season, Eli Manning’s ball protection must be focused on this offseason. Such issue continues to be a theme throughout the Giants roster, with Ahmad Bradshaw suffering a fate similar to that of Meadowlands legend Tiki Barber, who simply couldn’t hold onto the football.
In addition, Tom Coughlin has doubters very close to home. The Giants star safeties, Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips recently spoke out regarding the demeanour of their head coach. The pair, who insist they remain happy to be Giants, stated their belief that New York counterparts, the Jets, have a better team chemistry. Believing the catalyst of the Jets recent success to be Rex Ryan’s relaxed approach, the duo pointed the finger at Coughlin, stating that a lot could be gained if the aptly nicknamed ‘Colonel Coughlin’ adopted Ryan’s caring approach.
Despite the negatives, the New York Giants have plenty of positives to focus on. The 2010 season proved to be a career season for triggerman Eli, racking up an impressive 31 scores, his highest touchdown tally of his seven years in the league. Similarly, Ahmad Bradshaw fulfilled the promise seen in prior seasons and established himself as an NFL calibre running back. Bradshaw eclipsed previous career highs, rushing for over 1200 yards on the season, despite losing his starting role to good friend Brandon Jacobs in week 12 due to his troubles maintaining possession.
To many, the outlook on the New York Giants future may seem bleak. In one of professional football’s toughest divisions, with so many problems, many may doubt the Giants credentials. However, the last time the New York Giants and Tom Coughlin entered a campaign under such scrutiny, in the pressure cooker of New York expectancy, we all know what the end result was, just ask 2007’s perfect Patriots.