Since 2004, the New York Football Giants have met an NFC East division rival in week 17 of the season five of nine times. Sunday will be the 10th. Of those five times, the Giants have won all five. Head coach Tom Coughlin isn’t letting go of his “finish” mantra, regardless of record or how many feel about his tenure (and question of return).
“That’s what we're using, yes. That’s it — finish. Finish the season, finish with pride, finish strong,” Coughlin told Giants.com. “Create hope, fight your tail off, give it everything you have. Win at home, win in the division — there are a lot of themes here.”
Giving up (for whatever reasons floating around out there) isn’t an option. Coughlin remains the general and he recognizes that many are still his troops and soldiers that believe.
“We’d recognize the fact that this is a group of young men that has refused to give in to all the negativity that surrounded the 0-6 start. It shows the strength of character, it shows the competitive nature of the individual, it shows the fact that they do believe,” he said to Giants.com. “It hasn’t been in any way the kind of season that we wanted it to be, but nevertheless we’ve tried to do the best we can. And the idea that if we were to finish like that would be a nice indicator for these players and the coaches of what has taken place here. Do I personally reflect on it? No. Did someone bring it to my attention? Yes. My focus is winning the game, obviously. After that, I’m sure you will let me know these things that have happened that could possibly be focused on.”
While this isn’t good enough for most, the fact is that if the Giants maintain their 100% win record against division opponents in Week 17 (since ’04, when Coughlin took over as head coach), they will have finished this season 7-3 in their last 10 games. That 0-6 start undoubtedly killed them, but despite what many attempted to contrive, not the locker-room.
For those of you wondering about those other four games (of week 17 past) — there was one more win (against the Oakland Raiders in 2005) and the three losses were two to Minnesota in 2008 and 2009, and that one infamous pre-Super Bowl pre-playoff-like game against the New England Patriots. Their overall week 17 record (since ’04) stands at 6-3 until Sunday afternoon.
Last season, Coughlin asked his team to go out against the Philadelphia Eagles and play with pride and heart. He also asked the fans to get involved, in support of their team. This shouldn’t be a hard task on Sunday, eh? The season is almost over and within weeks, the fact that the Giants are no longer playing on any channel will begin to create that sense of longing. Reality sets in that the offseason is here (weeks early) and Big Blue football is gone and even after that eye-opening, question-inducing season, it will be sadly missed.
Regardless, it’s Go Giants!
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