The New York Giants held together despite starting the season 0-6. They had a mini-resurgence with four straight victories. They have tried to present a united front despite already being out of the playoffs.
After Sunday's 23-0 debacle at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, it seems obvious that the Giants have finally -- and not unexpectedly -- come apart at the seams.
Let me preface this by saying I was not at MetLife Stadium for today's game, the first preseason or regular-season home game I have not attended this season. From everything heard and read in the wake of Sunday's fractured performance -- where the defense played its hearts out while the offense was an embarrassment to NFL football -- it is obvious that the wheels have come off.
Without being asked, head coach Tom Coughlin called Sunday's effort by Eli Manning and the alleged offense "a pathetic offensive performance."
Coughlin, again without being prompted, ripped the effort of some of his players.
"I told the players who prepared and gave great effort that I appreciated what they did, and I told those that were obvious they had not, that I felt sorry for them because they're missing the whole point," Coughlin said.
There were, for the first time this season, post-game rumblings about locker room discord.
One pre-SB 46 Giants player told me after the game this was as tension-filled a post-game locker room as #NYG have had since he's been here.— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) December 15, 2013
One of the Giants' players, tight end Brandon Myers, must have at least felt like a target of some of the criticism. He bitterly took to Twitter after the game:
Getting cussed out for encouraging ppl am telling them they did a good job is mind blowing.— Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
If ppl on this team wanna take shots at me an say I have no passion they are mistaken. I give everything I have each an every week— Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
Myers, of course, quickly issued an apology:
My emotions got the best of me. I just want to win. All focus and energy will be on that.— Brandon Myers (@myersb83) December 15, 2013
Apology or not, the damage is done and Myers' rant makes it apparent that everything is not kosher among players in the Giants' locker room.
Things aren't entirely kosher between the players and the head coach, either, which Coughlin's comment that some players are "missing the whole point" made plain.
The coach, of course, did not single out any players as not giving effort. According to a variety of media reports, Coughlin also tried to issue his standard "put the blame on me for this" speech. Antrel Rolle, however, took the blame off his coach and put it on the players -- again showing that things have finally boiled over in the Giants' locker room.
"Coach Coughlin can't take any of this blame," Rolle said. "Coach Coughlin, he's a coach, but he can't coach heart, he can't make a play or have heart, he can't make a player have passion about this game, and that's what we were lacking out there today. Like I said, coach can say what he wants, but personally, I won't allow him to take that because coaches coach and the players play the game.
"Sometimes out there today, we looked like we didn’t have a pulse."
Ever the diplomat, quarterback Eli Manning did not want to get into the discussion about effort.
"I can't call anybody out or do anything like that. You can look at the film and maybe see it, but I just think we just got beat," Manning said. "We got outplayed at a lot of spots and I would hate to think guys weren't prepared or didn't come out here ready to play. I think they just wanted it more and obviously they're playing for bigger things than we are and they outplayed us."
They may or may not have a pulse, but the Giants do have two games remaining. It will be interesting to see if they actually show up for either of them.