After Sunday’s dismal loss to the Washington Redskins, the Giants under head coach Tom Coughlin look headed for yet another second half collapse. Although the Giants at a mediocre 7-7 still control their own destiny with two games remaining, Giants co-owner John Mara cannot be happy with the lackluster play of his team. With the Dallas Cowboys winning on Saturday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, without question, the Giants knew they had to win in order to keep pace with Dallas. And unfortunately, to the dismay of Giants’ fans, the New York Football Giants did not show energy and fight. Once the Redskins took control of this game, the Giants performance was so atrocious that fans left early for the exits. This scene of fans exiting early should be of concern for John Mara. This could very well be foreshadowing for Giants management.
There was a time in which Giants fans became livid with Wellington Mara and the inept play of the Giants. As a result of years of lousy football, they hung him in effigy. Seeing this act of extreme frustration, it had a profound affect on John Mara. At that time, it spooked him from the spotlight and driven him to build a champion. In fact John Mara does possess a Lombardi trophy under his watch. However, since winning Super Bowl XLII, things have gone south. The following year, the Giants were the best team in the league. After 12 games, they compiled an eleven and one record. Next came the unfortunate Plax shooting incident. Even though the Giants were Plaxless, they managed to claim the number one seed. But they suffered a bitter loss to the arch rival Eagles in the NFC Divisional playoff. In that season, the Giants had a golden opportunity to repeat as champions. And they could not seize the moment. 2009 and 2010 were wasted seasons in which the Giants did not qualify for the playoffs. Both of those seasons ended with second half collapses. Like the last two seasons, 2011 is teetering. The Giants still have control of their own destiny. But if the Giants lose to the Jets and the Cowboys win over the Eagles, another season will end with disappointment. If this scenario plays out, John Mara has to be looking at the facts. Here are some facts for Mr. Mara to consider:
1. Tom Coughlin’s poor record in second halves of seasons. Here is a breakdown of Coughlin’s body of work from game 9 to the final game of a season.
2004: 1-7 record home 1-3 and 0-4 road
2005: 5-3 record home 3-1 and 2-2 road
2006: 2-6 record home 0-4 and 2-2 road
2007: 4-4 record home 0-4 and 4-0 road
2008: 5-3 record home 2-1 and 3-2 road
2009: 3-5 record home 2-3 and 1-2 road
2010: 4-4 record home 2-2 and 2-2 road
2011: 1-5 record home 0-3 and 1-2 road
Thus far, Coughlin has a 25-37 second half record. He has a woeful 10-21 record at HOME. And he is 15-16 on the road. Generally speaking, a team with talent like the Giants should be surging in the second half of a season. In addition, under Coughlin, the Giants have not won their home games late in a season. This disturbing trend has become a vicious cycle. Coughlin’s teams get out of the gate swiftly then run out of gas to close a season. Upon his arrival as head coach until now, there have been changes. Assistant coaches have been dispatched and new players have been brought in. Even with these changes, the Giants continue to underachieve with talent. The only constant has been Coughlin.
2. Besides Coughlin’s pathetic second halves of seasons, Mr. Mara has to be irate at the current Giants” defense. As of today, the Giants have the FOURTH worst defense in the NFL.
Since 2006, the Giants have invested a lot on the defensive side of the ball. They have used many high draft picks on defenders:
Kiwi1, Ross1, Phillips1, Sintim2, Pierre-Paul1, Joseph2, Amukamara1, Austin2. That is five #1 draft picks in the last six years.
Despite pouring money, draft picks, and changing defensive coordinators, the Giants STINK on defense. Pete Furman, an expert here at UltimateNYG, points out that the Giants, having the 4TH worst defense in the N.F.L, speaks to the failure of Reese to draft well, to the horror of the signings for Bernard, Boley and Canty and the Tampa Two employed by Fewell.
Furthermore, The Giants have allowed an opponent to convert at least 50 percent on third down in five consecutive games. That’s the first time that’s happened in the NFL since the 1970 NFL-AFL merger, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Whether or not the Giants make the playoffs, John Mara has to make some decisions about the direction of his team. He gave Coughlin a 1 year extension, which is ‘code’ for: get results now. The excuses made over the last few years such as defensive line wearing down, injuries, and not making snap decisions on coaches is wearing thin with Giants fans. If Mr. Mara sticks with the status quo yet again, there is going to be an upheaval with the fans. And for Mara, do not be surprised if he gets the ire from fans. Like Wellington, Giants fans may decide to hang him in effigy.