Hope you caught Tom Coughlin on The Daily Show last night, plugging his new book, Earn the Right to Win: How Success in Any Field Starts with Superior Preparation before a beaming Jon Stewart (obviously a Big Blue fan). The clip is at the bottom of the post.
One particular comment intrigued me: Coach maintained that because of his and his staff’s superior preparations, “We led the league in two-minute drill.” I tried all day to nail that down with the NFL (who could not confirm), with the Giants (someone who didn’t wish to be named told us, “We don’t know why Coach said that”), and finally to the boys at Stats LLC, who did, indeed, determine that the Giants had the best two-minute drill in the league.
How do they figure that? “We go by points,” one of their researchers told us, “The Giants had 25 opportunities with two minutes or less in their 16 regular season games last year and scored 47 points.” The second most, we are told, was the Steelers with 38 points.
There is one other method of figuring best two-minute drill, and that would be points per opportunity — the Steelers had 20 opportunities in two minutes or less and averaged 1.9 points in TMD while the Giants were 1.88. But that’s close enough. We’ll let Coughlin have his bragging rights.
Our problem with that, though, is that the Coach maintained that this is an example of how meticulous he and his staff are in their game preparation. Let’s look at a few basic stats: The Giants were 6th in the league in points scored, but only 12th in points allowed on defense. Doesn’t defense require some preparation, too?
Let’s look at it another way: The Blue were just 14th overall on yards gained on offense and a horrendous 31st in yards allowed on defense. They made a total of 327 first downs but gave up 317 to their opponents. It looks an awful lot as if the Giants’ opponent were every bit as prepared as they were.
In fact, at 9-7, the Giants were just a couple of plays away from a perfectly mediocre 8-8 season. As someone at Stats LLC put it, “The real mystery is why Coughlin’s team was so good with two minutes to play at the end of the first half and at the end of the game and so lousy the rest of the time.”