"A lot of it's out of respect," Tuck said. "I think when you look at all of the history, all of the great players, the championships won, I think the two teams are probably more similar than a lot of people like to admit."
Wherever it comes from, there will be plenty of emotion flowing Sunday night when Tuck and the Giants face the Cowboys at MetLife Stadium for the NFC East title.
"I do not like the Cowboys and they don't like me," Tuck said. "And that's how it's supposed to be. That's nothing new."
Player after player was amazed at Coughlin's toughness after taking the hit, which looked nasty. Trainers forced him to go to the bench to be examined, but he fought them all the way and quickly limped back to his coaching position along the sideline.
"You know his actions, obviously, Saturday was a great example to the public," Tollefson said. "He would never ask us to do anything that he himself would (not) be willing to do, though he is twice the age of our youngest guy. Seriously, he means what he says and he says a lot of things that he does say, there is conviction in his voice. So you can really tell he means it."
And that he led to loyalty toward a coach who let his players know where they stand. "You don't want to let him down because he is willing to do anything he can to not let us down," Tollefson said.
Coughlin's message to the team Monday was simple: Forget about the win over the Jets. If you want to get into the postseason, win on Sunday.
"We are all all-in," said defensive captain Justin Tuck, who seemingly shook off all his injuries and played his best game of the season against the Jets. "Coach Coughlin is the same as all of us. I know that leg is banged up a little bit, but he wasn't showing any ill effects today and came in excited about the opportunity that we have this week." Outspoken safety Antrel Rolle went home to Miami for Christmas, and texted his coach to see how he was feeling Sunday.
"Some of our toughness definitely rubbed off on him," Rolle quipped before getting serious. "He is a tough guy. He kept it going. If our coach is strong enough to go out there and fight and keep it going and hang through a situation like that, we're younger. Why can't we do it? That's the mentality I have."
Some time on Thursday or Friday, Osi Umenyiora will step on the practice field and try to test out his injured ankle, but according to a source familiar with his situation he's not optimistic the results will be good. He is stil dealing with a nasty sprained ankle, and his return make still be "at least a couple more weeks" away.
"He's still not ready to play," the source said. "In the end, he may try to play. But he needs at least a couple more weeks to properly heal."
During Saturday's loss to the Eagles, Cowboys owner Jerry Jone went down to the sideline to talk to head coach Jason Garrett, to make sure Garrett knew the Giants had won earlier in the day and therefore the Cowboys didn't have anything to play for.
"The day I walked in here ... I felt that I didn’t want to be the little brother or whatever," Ryan said. "That’s who I am, and so do I regret it? No. Did it work out? Nope, it never worked out. But I'm never going to say I regret anything that I believe in my heart. I've always said from Day One I am going to be true to myself, and when I leave this job 10 or 15 years from now, I'm going to be true to myself."