New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin stood at a podium in front of reporters and camera people Monday and did what a great many Giants' fans are doing today -- he replayed in his mind a season that fell short of expectations.
"You look at your season, and sometimes when you walk off the field, having lost a game...for example, the first Philadelphia game 19-17, the game in Washington, 17-16...your thoughts are, 'Boy, I hope this one doesn't come back to haunt me, bite us in the butt in the long run.' But in reality, that's what happened," Coughlin said. "I look at the first game of the year, the Dallas game. We had played into February, we were the World Champions, we had extra time on the field, and I thought it would be a huge factor for us, opening the season. It didn't turn out to be. We lost that game at home. You look at the Pittsburgh game, where we had a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, and we were not able to hold on. So, you have the ebb and flow of the season, and you just pray that you can rise up, and accomplish what you need to accomplish to get into the playoffs."
Coughlin admitted that the season fell short of expectations.
"We are disappointed that our season is over, we are not happy that we're not continuing to play, we have to, as I told the players, I don't like the exit meeting. I don't like it at all. I don't like saying goodbye. I don't like the unfulfilled," Coughlin said. "A year ago, we walk from the last exit meeting to get on a bus to go to the Canyon of Heroes parade. That's kind of where we are emotionally. It's not an easy day, under any circumstances. To not be in the playoffs, is not, certainly not, as the season began, what we would've expected."
Coughlin continued by saying that "Winning and losing is a very fine line" in the NFL and that the blowout losses to Atlanta and Baltimore at the end of the season "will probably drive me insane."
"Not a question about how we lost the game, the question about why we didn't play better," Coughlin said.
Unfortunately for Coughlin and the Giants, he has much more time than he planned on to stew on that question.