Eagles 38 Giants 31

EPIC MELTDOWN.  This is the worst regular season loss in Giants history, including Pisarcik.  The Giants were going nowhere with Pisarcik, but this one was to set up a playoff berth, a division win and a bye.  We are all ill.  The Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in epic fashion. 

If it is one thing that cannot be tolerated, it is UNDERACHIEVEMENT.  This is why we painstakingly delineate the Rules For Winning in the NFL.  Much of the mindset for this blog has its origins in the SF 39 NYG 38 playoff implosion, because the underachievement of Jim Fassel needed to be understood. 

Rule #17) Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50?
Rule #18) The Fassel Rule of Prevent: It is always the coach’s fault when a large lead is blown/the game is lost.

Everyone gave Tom Coughlin the free pass in 2008 when the team underachieved and went out with a whimper in the playoffs.. that was because of the Super Bowl the prior year.  Management gave Coughlin another pass last season, despite his inability to manage the implosion of his defense.

So now it is 2010.  Epic implosion.  A team up 31-10 with 8:17 to go in Q4, that manages to find a way to lose the game.  

Phillips does not make the tackle on Celek.  TD.
  
The players are warned about a possible onside kick.  But the players decide to head in the other direction and are woefully out of position for the possibility.  Every Giants fan knew an onside kick was a distinct possibility.  Marvelous: “i was SCREAMING. LOOK OUT FOR the KICK!!!!!!!!”

On one blitz where Vick ran wild, Aaron Ross comes from the outside on contain and decides to go inside.

On the final punt to Jackson that is returned for a TD, Dodge is told to kick it out of bounds.  Yet the snap is cited by Dodge, and he decided to just get the ball off.

So on the surface, it is easy to rush to Coughlin’s side and defend him… I mean, after all, the players did not execute.  But that is naive and incorrect.  If this coach’s name is Bill Parcells, do you think you are going to see HIS team blow this lead?  Do you think PARCELLS’ special teams players are going to be out of position when they are allegedly told to beware of the onside kick?  Do you think Aaron Ross is going to go inside on that contain assignment if PARCELLS is his head coach?  Do you think Dodge is going to go back to the sidelines if PARCELLS is waiting there for him?  IN SHORT, THIS HAPPENED SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE OF THE COACHES.  Coughlin does not make his players accountable for their mistakes, so the team is sloppy, no matter how well they may be prepared.  He is a steward, nothing more and nothing less.  

Just like in the 2002 playoffs vs the 49ers, Fassel gets off because people are blaming Shockey for not making the catch.  Or the officials not making the correct call on Seubert being a tackle-eligible.  And we can hear it all over again when Coughlin will point to the players being told about where they had to be.  They were not.  And that is because they are not held accountable.  Parcells was merciless with accountability.  The players did not always like playing for him because he would ride them for their mistakes.  But they LOVED playing for him because he won you titles and you knew the other 44 players were being held to the same standard.

The unbiased opinion of Wonder is simple- that was the worst implosion he can recall.  He would fire the head coach, the special teams coach and the punter.

That is not happening.  The Giants have an opportunity to regroup and find their way back into the playoffs.  And we will all root for that, because all is not lost.  But at what cost do we keep on sticking with Coughlin hereafter?  At what emotional cost?  Jack Pardee and Jim Fassel both suffered huge epic playoff defeats, and the following season they watched their team unravel, losing their jobs.  At what point does the palpable underachievement of Tom Coughlin (yes, despite a Super Bowl win) finally catch up to him?

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