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Tom Coughlin: It Would Be “Naive” to Think Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Affect New York Giants

November 21st, 2012 at 7:00 AM
By Dan Benton

When Hurricane Sandy ripped through the Northeast, many New York and New Jersey residents were displaced due to flooding, fire and power outages. Among them were several members of the New York Giants, including quarterback Eli Manning, who had his Hoboken apartment flooded. Another was linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, whose home was destroyed by a flood of raw sewage. Still, Big Blue tried to focus, but after losing two consecutive games, head coach Tom Coughlin acknowledged on Tuesday that, despite their best efforts, the team was distracted by the widespread damage.

"We tried to do the best job we could; we tried to back our week up and tried to put our players in a better position mentally where they could take care of their issues and then come to work," Coughlin said on WFAN. "For the most part, when we were here, I think the focus was here. But to say that we weren’t affected, no, that would be foolish; that would be naïve on my part."

Coughlin knows there are no excuses in the NFL, and the team will not be granted any sort of mulligan because of an act of Mother Nature. Still, for anyone that experienced the wrath that Sandy brought through the area, it's very easy to understand how it could cause a significant distraction. After all, despite being world class athletes, players are still human; they still have homes, pets and family to worry about. All things that are far more important than the game of football.

"Everyone has been affected And our players have, because, remember, they have families, they have wives, they have children. They went through the same things that we all went through. You lose power," Coughlin added. "For example, just as close as Hoboken, there were guys that couldn’t stay in their apartments, couldn’t live in their homes, they had to get out. And then you are always concerned about your wife, your children, whether or not you have gas in the tank, whether or not there is warmth in your home. On a smaller scale, but reflective of what many people went through, certainly we were affected."

In addition to Manning and Kiwanuka, other players like punter Steve Weatherford and tight end Martellus Bennett were also displaced as a result of the Hurricane. And those that weren't displaced, had plenty of their own concerns to deal with.

Whatever the case may be, the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy continues, but following a bye week and a chance to get all of their ducks in a row, the Giants have returned more focused and ready to right the ship.

Photo Credit: Mike Gannon

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Tags: Eli Manning, Football, Hurricane Sandy, Martellus Bennett, Mathias Kiwanuka, New Jersey, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Weatherford, Tom Coughlin

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35 Responses to “Tom Coughlin: It Would Be “Naive” to Think Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Affect New York Giants”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    This is precisely what I said worried me going into the Steelers game. The world was focused on the inconvenience they had in having to fly up the day of the game but I was saying that I thought it was going to be the Giants who weren’t right, and as the game played out I felt that was exactly what I was seeing from the seats behind the Giants. They just didn’t seem right.

    Then they fly to Cincy, meet a team that was ready to play its best ball of the season, had a few things break against them early in that game, and down they spiraled.

    I don’t know that all of the players are even now fully-focused on football. Most live in New Jersey and many live in areas that are still recovering from Sandy. As Coughlin says, they are, after all, human beings with the same concerns for their families and homes that anyone else would have.

    I know everyone is saying they need to get their focus back in order to win, and play savvy ball and maintain great communication. I think it’s a two-way street. I don’t know that they can REALLY get their focus back fully until they get a good win. A win gets them back into the heat of the race to “The Tournament” and makes it a lot easier to focus. This game Sunday, IMO, is probably make-or-break. A win gets everything moving in the right direction. A loss will be mentally very tough, and given the surrounding circumstances and confused state of many of the players if they take another bad loss, it could open a gaping hole in what is now a ship that has just sprung a small leak.

    I haven’t felt this way about a regular season game since the game against the Jets last year. I thought that was a must win (even though circumstances could have determined that it was not literally that), and I think this game is very much the same. A loss doesn’t by any means knock them out of playoff contention mathematically, but I think a win is necessary for them to get where they want to go.

    •  JimStoll says:

      I agree about Sunday; and probably the following week as well if Wash wins this week
      But I don’t know if I buy the hurricane distraction excuse
      This happens every year and I’m pretty sure that there hasn’t been a hurricanr every other year
      Let’s face it, under Coughlin the Giants flat out stink 50% of every season
      sometimes, twice to be precise, they somehow manage to flip a switch at the perfect time and play gangbusters the rest of the way
      most times, 6 to be precise, they stagger and fall
      can I blame it on coughlin’s horrendous coaching — mangaing always to get less out of more?
      not directly I suppose; and certainly the two super bowls weigh heavily on the other side of the balance

      but for 9 straight seasons now it has been the same exact story — a fast start built on the foundation of a weak schedule, followed by a near to fatal crumble when the competition gets real
      throughout the 16 game marathon, they turn in about 4 really good performances, 6 poor to mediocre ones where they somehow manage to eke out a few victories, and 6 truly horrendous embarrasments where they look like one of the league’s worst teams

      so, hurricane schmurricane — this is the Tom coughlin NY Giants
      they may end up anywhere from 6-10 to 10-6 this season, with 8-8 looking uncomfortably likely

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I agree with you on the importance of this game although I don’t think it’s the Jets game or even Dallas game 1 from last year. However, for us to get where we want it’s vital we beat teams like GB even if we lose to a lesser team later on. We need to remind ourselves that when we play our best ball we can beat anyone. SF was a while ago now. For us I feel it’s more important to beat top teams and even lose to the Cincinati’s of the world than to just beat the teams we are suppose to beat and losing to the top teams. Beating these type of teams re-enforces our ability to beat the type of teams we would need to win for another SB run.

  2.  rlhjr says:

    Well I can certainly identify and empathize with the player’s plight.
    Deal with no hot water, no lighting and conditioning sucks.
    Then, having to leave wife and/or children in that situation while you go to (play) football which is also your job leaves a lot of holes in your personal life.

    I am not one for making excuses for myself or the teams that I root for.
    It is a unwritten law that in football, (and in many ways the military) that nothing else matters except for the performance of your TEAM.

    That is how your team is judged and the basis for your winning or losing.
    Not just two or three individuals, but your entire team every man.

    So just like injury means “next man up” hardship means suck it up and get her done. We all know (hopefully) that family comes first. Even in the military concessions are made (by thinking commanders) for the family of troops.

    So even though no excuses are given, the excuse absolutely exists.
    And anyone in their right mind understands this. But the iron jawed resolve that must be displayed is, no excuse is accepted for substandard performance.

    However, with respect to the games vs. the cowturds and Egirls there were no external excuses. They played like crap. No urgency, energy or will to win.
    And again remember, even though the players (or troops) who screwed the pooch might be a small number of the total team, the consequences for the shortcomings of a few are the defeat of many. The TEAM lost those games, not individual players or positions. It is not until the entire team effort is turned on that victory comes.

    Without exception, in this game, you are only as strong as your weakest link.

    •  JimStoll says:

      looking at the team’s performance this season we see the following

      1. Cincy — despicably bad (0-1)

      2. Dallas 2x, Eagles Wash — really really poor play (somehow 2-2)

      3. Pitt, Cleveland Tampa — mediocre up and down (2-1)

      4. Carolina/SF (excellent dominating performances – 2-0)

  3.  Grateful Giants says:

    I said the exact same thing yesterday and just assumed everyone had already hashed and rehashed this subject. The city is still not where it was, and won’t be for a long time.

    Grateful Giants says:
    November 20, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    For what its worth, and I don’t know if this has been brought up, i haven’t been able to follow much since after the storm, but do you guys think Sandy, and after life had a real effect on the team? I’m not making an excuse, just curious what you guys think.

    I know my office was out of commission for a week, and even once we got back in, people are still without power, living on their neighbors couches.

    With Eli’s family down south I can only imagine that other families, and other players had experienced something similar. You don’t live on someones couch, or send your family down south without it affecting you in some way. I wonder if, after all that has happened to these guys and their families, they were just not able to focus on their day to day. Just getting to a gym, or a meeting, it was so hard to get around the city, public transportation (not that any do use it), but tunnels, and everything. I bet the commute to the stadium has been awful.

    I hope the break gives them a chance to take a step back, regroup, get their feet on the ground, and get back to some sort of normalcy. I have complete faith in the coaching staff to get them motivated, and back to normal day to day business as usual. I just ultimately think it affected them a lot more than most can imagine.

    •  JimStoll says:

      still don’t buy the hurricane excuse

      •  Grateful Giants says:

        I mean, not calling it an excuse. But dude parts of NYC, New York City are still without power man. New York City, without power.

        They still came out and laid an egg last week, and the Steelers game was closer than I think most of us would like to admit. But I definitely 100% understand that they were affected.

        Tom Coughlin even said, “It Would Be “Naive” to Think Hurricane Sandy Didn’t Affect New York Giants”

  4.  Krow says:

    The situation in the Middle East is really upsetting Keith Rivers.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      And Tuck is having a philosophical discussion with himself about the fairness of the current tax code and what the coming deal will do to his plan to start a chicken farm in Alabama.

      •  JimStoll says:

        I’m trying to balance whether to cook 1 turkey or 2 with the decision if I should recommend my client pay blood money to settle a case so as to avoid trial on Monday
        still, I will find time, the energy and the commitment to watch the giants play Green Bay sunday night

        I expect no less from them

    •  kinsho says:

      In all fairness, Keith Rivers can’t do anything but watch CNN’s coverage of Middle East when he broke his thumb trying to change the channel.

  5.  kinsho says:

    Anyway, I’ve been reading this team acknowledging some of their mental issues and even some ‘slight arrogance’ that made them lazy on some plays. I’m glad to hear this. The Giants biggest problems is mentality. There should be no doubt that we have the personnel and the coaching staff to win a third Super Bowl under Eli. The real question should be whether they could get their act together mentally.

  6.  Krow says:

    Plax was on the radio this morning. He sounded in good spirits, and was headed to his first meeting with the Steelers.

  7.  kinsho says:

    Also, looking at the injury report, I see that the entire right side of the offensive line is banged up. Even throwing in a banged-up Bennett to the right of the line to act as blocker might not do as much good, especially if he and Diehl fail to communicate blocking assignments to one another.

    That is worrisome. Clay Matthews will have a field day if he focuses solely on forcing his way through the right side of the line. And I have little doubt he will. Green Bay is coming into New York with a fury that’s been brewing ever since we ended their last season. Not only would Rodgers want to pay us back for that humiliating defeat, but Clay Matthews and his defense will step up as well. I have little doubt that of all their opponents so far (outside of division rivals), they have spent the most time studying us and analyzing our weaknesses.

    Not good. I’ll say it now – we have little chance of winning if Snee and Baas do not get healthy quick and we don’t rotate Diehl out with Locklear.

    •  GmenMania says:

      Clay Matthews has been out for a couple of weeks, and probably won’t play this Sunday. He is the Packers only true pass-rusher. They don’t get much pressure without him

      •  kinsho says:

        True that Matthews may be out this week, but the Packers are second in the league in terms of sacks. Granted, sacks don’t always correlate positively with consistent QB pressure, but it seems the Packers have found ways to frustrate quite a few quarterbacks this season.

    •  rlhjr says:

      Agreed kinsho

      However, San Francisco was similarly motivated, perhaps even more so.
      And that team only just removed the “blue foot” planted squarely in their collective a$$ by a Giants team that heard and remembered every word the 9′ers said. The Packers find themselves in the same boat.

      Always keep in mind the Giants from the 80’s till now do everything with their hearts on their sleeves. In other words, Green Bay (IMO) made the same mistake the 9’ers made. The spoke as though the Giants effort put forth to win had nothing to do with the outcome. Rather they gave the game away to a plainly inferior team.

      Both teams inadvertently gave the Giants INTERNAL bulletin board material that will last forever. One thing I have learned over my years watching this team; “To insult them with words is to beg for their best effort” In other words Green Bay is effectively set up for a major a$$ whooping.

      The Giants respond to criticism of the type levied at them by San Fran and GB.
      And I am sure this feeling of outrage has been passed down by the retired vets who are around the team on a regular basis. Just saying, if the Giants are anywhere near healthy look out.

      •  kinsho says:

        I hope you’re right. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear the Packers talk more trash between now and Sunday, especially given all the attention this game will get.

      •  JimStoll says:

        there is truth to the upside down inside out way the Giants approach things
        play down to the competition
        let teams off the hook
        elevate against the best teams
        squander big divisional leads

        painful to live through
        makes for a potential great story if and sometimes when they pull it off

  8.  rlhjr says:

    I meant to post this yesterday, but work got in the way:

    This team and indeed the entire division have the feel of a 8-8 division winner entirely within the realm of possibility.

    The Washington team strikes me as the one ball club with the X (RG3) factor.
    The skins show the energy and explosion to be at the very least a factor as far as what team (themselves included) ends up winning the division.
    This is just my opinion.

    Dulla$$ is fully capable of losing any game in which Romo is the QB. That is a FACT when it comes to clutch season defining scenarios.
    So Thursday will be very interesting indeed. The one thing against Wash. is the squarely nature of their head coach. The evaluation of players for next year remarks were mind numbing. Or perhaps it was designed to get his guys playing for their jobs and indirectly playing themselves into post season.

    This time of year, good teams can rely on their lines. Offensive and defensive lines are the backbone of contending teams this time of year. The hard work is on their backs. Yes, you need back seven work on defense and skill position contribution on offense. But the respective lines are the difference makers this time of the year. Make no mistake; it’s their spirit and toughness that makes the difference this time of year.

    This is now the equivalent of August in baseball. The dog days are here.
    Those afraid of work and effort need not apply.

    No brainer about the QB, DB’s, LB’s, RB and WR needing to play at a high level. But again, the lines have so much to do with their ability to excel.
    It would be really nice if Pascoe and even young Robinson (if Pope deems him fit) could help out with the run blocking. And somehow incorporate Randle in the short passing game to take advantage of his YAK gift. The bottom line is Eli must go for the throat when he has his offense in range. Field goals wont do the job. The Giants need to score TD’s once they cross the 20. And they need balance to get there. No if and or buts.

    The good news for the Giants is “THIS IS WHAT THEY DO” they have the veteran experience and belief system/mental toughness to pull this off.
    And two of the four Lombardi’s prove it. But just how often you can go to the well is the big question for Blue.

    Yet and still, if the PLAYERS set the tone and are allowed to run it their way with calculated guidance and input/assistance from the coaching staff, it could happen. At some point any leadership regime must know when they get out of the way and let the soldiers do their thing. That means Kildrive giving the reigns to Eli and Coughlin giving his heart to his players and listening to what they might be saying to him.

    Although it is not his default behavior pattern, Coughlin has shown the ability to connect with his players, listen to and accept their input. He will need to draw on that ability yet again as well as encourage the same in his assistants.

    If the Giants win either of the next two games, they will be set up for a big finish. They need to taste blood in order for the mob mentality to kick in.
    If that happens, look out NFL……..Here come the Giants.

    •  kinsho says:

      Agreed with the coaches letting players do more of their own thing. We didn’t make it to the Super Bowl last year necessarily on coaching brilliance. We did so with quality players. Coughlin and Gilbride need to show some more trust in their players, especially in a certain first-round draft pick.

  9.  JimStoll says:

    Let’s all face reality: the Giants have been horrible this year save 2 games
    Maybe they’ll turn it around, but nothing that they’ve shown us this year supports that optimism
    Rather we are left with “they’ve done it before”

    Coughlin and his staff continue to be the most overrated coaching staff in the NFL

    or

    the group of players we have must be the laziest sacks of sheep bleep on the planet, refusing to come to work until about week 14

  10.  GmenMania says:

    I really wish the Giants would shut up. For a team with the motto “Talk is Cheap”, they sure do talk a lot. And it’s really annoying. I mean, all the chirping coming from the mouths of Rolle, Tuck, etc. is really getting on my nerves.

    •  JimStoll says:

      I wouldn’t mind the talking if they ever backed it up
      ironically, if they do turn things around and start to play well, they will shut up

      •  Grateful Giants says:

        They talked throughout the entire playoff run last year.

        I’d say they backed it up.

        If you were talking about the Jets, or the Eagles or Cowboys I could understand this sentence.

        Under no circumstance can you win 2 championships in a professional sport and be labeled overrated.

        Name another team not named the pats packers, saints or 9ers (all of whom we steamrolled to get that championship) that has posted more than one DOMINANT (an by dominant I mean all three phases crushing another team, I haven’t seen the Texans or falcons come close to that yet, we’ve done it twice) performance. I don’t think you realize how good you got it man.

        •  Grateful Giants says:

          Didn’t mean to put the saints on that list.

          •  JimStoll says:

            steelers?

            •  JimStoll says:

              maybe it is a matter of semantics
              there are two facts that cannot be denied:

              1. the Giants have won 2 super bowls over the past 5 years (and no other team has done that)

              2. the regular season in each of the last 9 years (including the 2 super bowl runs) has been wildly erratic, with as many bad performances as good (really more bad than good)

              it is probably fairest to simply acknowledge that the giants are one big gigantic enigmatic enterprise
              lots of talent; occasional brilliance; occcasional (thogh rarer [2 for 8] sustained brilliance; but lots of putrid play; lots of no shows; lots of flat play

              I default to blaming Coughlin (and hence screaming for his head on a pike) because he’s in charge and you can’t fire the entire team all at once
              obviously, I scream for his head only because it makes me feel good — as DEMO enjoys pointing out: it ain’t ever going to happen (Perry Fewel? Now that may be a different story)

              but the giants are nothing if not erratic
              and hence they will once again be something of an 8-8 to 10-6 team, and maybe make the playoffs – maybe not, and maybe deliver a magical run – probably not

        •  demo3356 says:

          Well said Goat but unfortunately Jim “Sackless “Stoll is a lost cause. EVERY PHUCKING year since 2008 he starts this **** monologue about Coughlin being over rated or needing to be fired blah blah blah. It doesn’t matter that we are the most successful franchise in the NFL the last 5 years and the 2nd most successful in the NFL since he took over the team in 2004 behind only the Steelers. Clown boy still beats the same old drum year in and tear out. Its almost like he knows NOTHING about Football whatsoever and has no idea how hard it is to ever win one Lombardi no less two. The guy deserves to be a Lions, Browns, Bengals, Jets, Bills, Raiders or Chiefs fan so he can see bad teams with bad coaches and learn to appreciate how lucky we are to be a NYG fan and to have the Great Tom Coughlin running our team…

          •  JimStoll says:

            it’s hard to bring you out of your cave; but I’ve done it!!

            •  demo3356 says:

              I’ve been here nearly every day since my sons football seasons ended 2 weeks ago. I just dont get how you constantly have such a negative outlook on this team and coaching staff. It truly is mind numbing..

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