Every time the New York Giants lose a game, and even sometimes when they win them, a segment of the fan base calls for the head of coach Tom Coughlin. As the Giants have suffered meltdown after late-game meltdown this season the odds they will get their wish have risen.
Ex-NFL GM Bill Polian, who spent 20 years running the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers and Indianapolis Colts, said recently that Coughlin wouldn't be on the hot seat if he were making the decision:
"My first rule of thumb was: Is the head coach getting the most out of his staff? And are he and his staff getting the most out of the players that they have? If the answer to those are yes, then move on to what the second step is and what the problem actually is, because if that's the case, then it's not coaching," said Polian.
So, what is the problem?
"I think it's very simple. Even now with Jason Pierre-Paul giving them some semblance of a pass rush, they have not been able to rush the passer in close games on defense, and offensively they have not been able to run the ball," Polian said.
"With the lead, you have to control the ball and you have to do it largely on the ground, and with the injuries to the offensive line, they really don't have anyone that can do that with any consistency. If you are going to finish, you have to have pass-rushers and someone who can tote the leather like [the Jets'] Chris Ivory, for example, can."
We know how bad the Giants have been late in games. We know that Coughlin's late-game management this season is seen as being questionable at best. We know that, by his own admission, it seems Coughlin has not managed end-of-game decisions the way he would always prefer to. We know Polian's opinion doesn't matter, and that whether he leaves on his own or with a push missing the playoffs again could lead the Giants to a coaching change.
Still, the opinion of a highly-respected former GM who has had to make this type of decision several times, is worth at least discussing.