Somehow it was fitting that Tom Coughlin’s Giants picked their last game in their old stadium to give us their most memorable performance. No one who saw their 41-9 slaughter by the Carolina Panthers — a 6-8 team going into the game — will ever forget it. The lingering question about their 2009 season, perhaps the only intriguing question left to be discussed, is are the Giants mediocre or erratic? There’s plenty of evidence for both arguments.
Let’s first consider those for mediocre. With one game remaining, New York is 8-7 and has outscored opponents by just 12 points, 395-383. They are 4-4 in road games, 4-3 at Giants Stadium. Six times this season they scored more than 30 points, and six times they allowed more than 30 points.
Now the case for erratic.
The Giants started out 5-0, then proceeded to lose 7 of the next 10 games. They won three games by 24 or more points and lost four by 20 or more. Week after week, their best performances have been followed by their worst. In the 5th game of the season, they beat Oakland 44-7; the following week they lost to New Orleans, 48-27. In their 11th game, they were crushed at Denver 26-6 then came back the next week to beat Dallas 31-24. In Game 13, hideous special teams play translated into a 45-38 loss to the Eagles followed the next week by one of their most impressive wins, a 45-12 victory over the Redskins at Washington. Then yesterday’s debacle against Carolina at home.
Summing it all up, one would have to conclude that the Giants are both mediocre and erratic. One would also have to conclude that the fast fading memory of the Giants 2007 postseason championship run was, in reflection, a super colossal fluke — or, at best, the result of the sensational blitzing schemes of then defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Whatever the reason for the magic at the tail end of the 2007 season, there is no trace of it anywhere else in Tom Coughlin’s tenure coaching the Giants. Including postseason games, his overall record is just 59-43, and outside the winter of 2008, he is 0-3 in the playoffs. If it wasn’t for that championship season, would anyone argue that Coughlin should be coaching the Giants in 2010?