When Tom Coughlin came to New York in 2004, one of the first things he did was remove the ping pong tables from the Giants’ locker room.
“It felt so drastic,” former Giant and current CBS radio host Tiki Barber said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “But all of those things that were loose, he did away with – in addition to all the other rules that he instituted. It just felt so different. It was hard to deal with for a lot of the guys, and over time – a year or two – he started weeding out those who just couldn’t conform to it and ultimately started shaping the team in his vision.”
Coughlin’s vision resulted in two Super Bowl titles, but after missing the playoffs six times in seven years, the Giants needed a change. Coughlin, 69, resigned Monday.
The Giants went 19-29 over the last three years, including 6-10 this season, despite having a healthy Eli Manning.
Why did things get so bad in New York, you ask? It’s simple: injuries.
“I’ve always said in order to play really well in the postseason, you have to have as close to as possible the same starting 22 that you’ve had at the beginning of the season,” Barber said. “That just hasn’t been the case with Tom. It’s been injury after injury after injury. You can almost deflect blame away for the head coach because you’re starting guys who don’t have the experience, who aren’t your developing stars. They’re backups and guys who probably shouldn’t be in the league.”
Unfortunately for the Giants, they lost eight games by five points or fewer this season, including five by a field goal or less. There wasn’t just one problem, either. Different players and position groups underperformed week in and week out.
“As a team, they didn’t get it done effectively enough, but it always falls on the head coach,” Barber said. “He ends up having to be accountable for that. It’s a bottom-line business in the NFL. Wins and losses matter, especially after last season when John Mara put him on notice and said you have to have a winning season this year regardless of circumstances. It just didn’t get done.”