Monday, December 27, 2010

To the Point: They Must Go

1. Rarely do you see a defining test for a football coach. There are accumulations of bad or redeeming moments, but there's rarely one instance you can point at and say, "this is where he proves whether he should stay or go."

2. Recovering from the Philadelphia embarrassment was exactly that test for Tom Coughlin. With a win over Green Bay, the Giants could make the playoffs and immediately erase the bad memories. And we've seen them make strange things happen in the playoffs.

3. Instead, we got another embarrassment. Whatever Coughlin and his staff did, it went no distance to erasing the psychological wounds from the Eagle comeback. Instead, it was a repeat of last year's collapse, and an echo of the ugly playoff loss two years ago.

4. In the end, Coughlin has a record of failure in the playoffs. The Giants have either missed the playoffs or lost in the first round every year that he's been coach, except for one. And that's where it gets awkward, because in 2007 the Giants went on an absurd run and won an improbable Super Bowl against the Patriots. I still don't know how this happened. It was a little miracle diamond encased deep within the snow in an ice age. There was luck and great defense and etc. involved. I credit Steve Spagnuolo, mostly. The offense was cautious enough not to screw things up, but that's about it.

5. But one Super Bowl does not immunize a coach. Especially when all indications point to him getting very, very lucky for that one win. Let's look at Coughlin's record in Jacksonville. He took the Jaguars, an expansion team, to two AFC title games in his first 5 years. They lost both, but it was impressive nonetheless. But in his last 3 years, he went 19-29, and he got fired.

6. So Coughlin seems to fade after initial success, and we're seeing that now. It's time to cut him off. Hire Cowher or hire someone else, but Coughlin needs to go. He has nothing to offer except more embarrassment.

7. And fire Eli Manning with him. He's going to finish with his lowest passer rating since 2007, and he will lead the league in interceptions. Yes, he threw 30 touchdowns. Great. His bad decisions utterly eclipsed that number. He's getting worse as a quarterback. His trajectory isn't too much different from Coughlin's.

8. Also, have you ever seen a professional quarterback who couldn't throw a spiral? It's unbelievable.

9. Together, Coughlin and Manning led us to a Super Bowl. But they can't even lead us to the playoffs anymore. They can't even lead us to any respect.

10. It's over. Time to rebuild. We'll always have 2007-08. We'll always have Belichick stomping off the field. We'll always have Tyree's catch and Plaxico's touchdown. It was great. Thanks forever. Now it's time to say goodbye.

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