Asked for the umpteenth time on Monday about what the New York Giants have to play for with no playoff berth on the line head coach Tom Coughlin gave a long, eloquent answer that tell you a lot about the 67-year-old coach. Here is most of it:
"The point that I make is that you have everything to play for. You're being heavily scrutinized by the powers that be within your own organization. The coaches want to know what you're made out of. ... For me, it’s a matter of pride, it’s a matter of who you represent, it’s a matter of your teammates depending on you, it’s a matter of your character and who you are. You’re making a strong statement about who you are, whether you’re a fighter or a competitor, how you’re going to be influenced. Competitive greatness is something that we talk about and it starts deep within and it’s the nature of the game. Men are lured to the most difficult of challenges and that’s the game of football completely. In this day and age, the way in which the media and the video world, and the way in which you can have information so quickly at your disposal, a man is who he is. I think that’s an important thing, too. Your family is involved. Your family name is involved. Who you are and what you represent and what your character is and how you stand as a man, in the most difficult of times, in the best of times.
"We’ve had it both ways around here. We’ve had people in that Super Bowl locker room and we’ve had people in our locker room after we’ve had disappointing losses. How do we handle it and what kind of men are we if we are completely opposite and don’t rise to the occasion and meet the bell when things aren’t going well. I take that stuff very seriously."
Here are some of the other things Coughlin spoke about on Monday.
On Michael Cox's 56-yard kickoff return to begin overtime:
"If he doesn't get to the 20-yard line, we're all over him, and when he gets to the 49, we're cheering."
On the season as a whole, a year that has seen the Giants start 0-6 and go 6-3 since then:
"I think all you can do is focus one week at a time on the circumstances surrounding the team and where we are. I think that when the season's over and we evaluate, we'll evaluate everything. Of course, we're going to be extremely critical of those first six."