The N.Y Giants’ season came to a screeching halt last weekend when they failed to make the playoffs despite defeating the Redskins 17-14 in the last game of the season. It was a bitter end to a season that had held so much promise, all the more devastating because of the suddenness with which things changed. Three weeks I didearlier , when they were leading the Philadelphia Eagles by 21 points with less than 8 minutes to go in the fourth quarter , it looked like the division championship and a first round bye were firmly within their grasp . Then the roof caved in and the Eagles went on to win the game because of a combination of Michael Vick’s brilliant play and some boneheaded play by a panicked Giants team.I didn’t really think they would be able to come back against the Packers and they didn’t though they gave it a good try.
Under the circumstances , it would not have been surprising if the Giants had fired coach Tom Coughlin. These late season collapses have become a trademark of the Giants during the Coughlin era .There have also been doubts in some quarters about Coughlin’s hold on his team because of some incidents , most notably with RB Brandon Jacobs. Besides Coughlin is nearing the end of his career and with Bill Cowher having made no secret of his availability, Coughlin would have been history had he been a coach with , say, the Washington Redskins . Bill Snyder would have pulled the rug out from under Coughlin in an instant.Not so , with the Giants . Owner John Mara was quick to re-assure Coughlin that his job was safe .The Maras are old style team owners for whom football is more than just a business. Wellington Mara was one of the original owners of an NFL and a football man through and through. Not like some of thee Johnny- come- latelies who have made their money elsewhere and for whom owning a NFL team is a hobby / investment. Glad to see that John Mara is carrying on the Mara tradition.
A pat on the back also for Lovie Smith , the Chicago Bears coach , a man I’ve always liked. In their final game ,the Bears were playing the Green Bay Packers in what was, for the Bears, a meaningless game . They had already secured their playoff spot and it would not have been surprising for them to have rested their top players rather than risk an injury. On the other hand , the Packers needed the victory to make the playoffs ; a Packer loss would have put the Giants in the playoffs. However, Chicago played their starters in a tough close fought game , losing 10-3. Full credit to Lovie Smith and his integrity. Just r that , I’ll be rooting for the Bears to do well in the playoffs.