The New York Giants are still in contention for a playoff spot. It requires a lot of things to go their way, but it's still mathematically possible, and I hate that. I feel like if the division had been strong this year, and boasted even one team capable of double-digit wins, then the Giants would have been eliminated earlier, and made necessary changes as part of an evaluation process for 2016.
Don't get me wrong, I know who this team is. They are not the kind of organization to make drastic decisions based on emotion. The owners run this team like a business, and past deeds are rewarded with current stability. However, wouldn't it be nice to close out the year with a little hope that things may get better?
Tom Coughlin deserves better than to be fired mid-season. He deserves the right to leave in a dignified manner that honors his achievements with this team, but wouldn't it be nice to have seen an interim head-coach handle this team over the final few games of the year? We could see if Ben McAdoo is up to the task, or if Steve Spagnuolo has anything left. We could have seen something different, if only for the sake of seeing something different.
Giants fans deserve better than to slog through December on a wing and a prayer. Players with enormous talent are being dragged down by the inability to cut ties from past mistakes -- whether that's on-field personnel, the front-office, or coaching staff -- it's clear that everyone involved has has been given way too much slack.
Since 2010, the Giants have steadily regressed and are on a clear definable path to the bottom of the league. There have been too many declarations of "One more year". It's time to blow up the machine.
With eight losses in the books, the Giants are guaranteed their third consecutive season without a winning record. Six of the Giants eight losses were by four points or fewer, but does that matter anymore? At some point, it doesn't matter how close you get if you can't actually finish it. Do we give praise to those who almost finish jigsaw puzzles? Do you tip a waiter who fails to bring you dessert? Are your favorite books the ones whose final chapters have been ripped out?
After this season, Coughlin's Giants will have hit an unusual and disappointing milestone. They now have six seasons with eight wins or fewer. This equals their total number of seasons with nine wins or more. I feel like this should be a natural end-point for Coughlin's time in New York. Two Super Bowl wins will give you a hell of a lot of leeway, but this seems like too much. They've tried new coordinators, they've tried spending big in free agency, they even tried the patient approach. It's time to move on.
Cam Newton is the 1st player in NFL history w/ 300+ pass yards, 5+ pass TDs & 100+ rush yards in a game pic.twitter.com/TnRaOkc1uV— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) December 20, 2015
Sigh. I am in no way surprised that this happened while facing the 2015 Giants defense.
The hard truth to swallow
Odell Beckham: 1,396 yards, 13 TD receiving. You'd have to combine Giants' next 3 most-targeted rec (Randle/Vereen/Harris) to equal him.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 21, 2015
Odell Beckham Jr. made a helmet-to-helmet hit on an opposing player. It's impossible to argue against that fact. Whether it was an intentional targeted hit to the head, or an inaccurate tackle is up for debate, but it's also irrelevant. The hit was violent, it was in-game, and it drew a flag.
Beckham's suspension was levied on the grounds that NFL officials observed him in six instances where he operated outside what the league deemed as proper conduct. Three of these instances drew penalty flags, and one of those penalties should have resulted in an ejection.
Beckham's punishment is in line with previous sentences handed out by the league office. Below you will find an incomplete list of 25 disciplines given to players for on-field infractions. Certain elements of this list have been removed for the sake of brevity and relevance.
|2015||Aqib Talib||1 game||Poking Dwayne Allen's eye|
|2014||Ndamukong Suh||1 game (appealed and reduced to fine)||Stomping on Aaron Rodgers|
|Dominic Raiola||1 game||Stomping on Ego Ferguson|
|Brandon Meriweather||2 games||Illegal hit on Torrey Smith|
|2013||Dashon Goldson||1 game||Repeated violations of safety|
|Michael Griffin||1 game||Repeated violations of safety|
|Erik Walden||1 game||Headbutting Delanie Walker|
|Brandon Meriweather||2 games (appealed and reduced to 1 game)||Repeated violations of safety|
|Dashon Goldson||1 game (appealed and overturned)||Helmet-to-helmet hit on Darren Sproles|
|Antonio Smith||1 game||Removing and swinging Richie Incognito's helmet|
|2012||Joe Mays||1 game||Illegal hit on Matt Schaub|
|Scott Fujita||3 games (appealed and overturned)||Bounty scheme|
|Will Smith||4 games (appealed and overturned)||Bounty scheme|
|Anthony Hargrove||8 games (appealed and overturned)||Bounty scheme|
|Jonathan Vilma||1 season (appealed and overturned)||Bounty scheme|
|2011||James Harrison||1 game||Illegal hit on Colt McCoy|
|Ndamukong Suh||1 game||Stomping on Evan Dietrich-Smith|
|2009||Dante Wesley||1 game||Launching into Clifton Smith|
|Eric Smith||1 game||Helmet-to-helmet hit on Anquan Boldin|
|2006||Albert Haynesworth||1 game||Stomping on Andre Gurode|
|2002||Rodney Harrison||1 game||Helmet-to-helmet hit on Jerry Rice|
|1998||Derrick Thomas||1 game||Unsportsmanlike conduct and multiple personal fouls|
|1986||Charles Martin||2 games||Body-slamming Jim McMahon|
|Greg Townsend||1 game||Fighting|
As you can see, the penalties for in-game violence are very clear. Prior to this game, Beckham never had as much as one penalty based on player safety, but The League of Policies for Players is very clear in it's ability to punish based on a first-offense. One game is a common penalty exacted against players in Beckham's position and the NFL has stable grounds to uphold their decision regarding penalizing the Giants' receiver for his actions in Sunday's game.
Viewing Beckham's penalties in a vacuum is a mistake, but the NFL will want to create a stark black-and-white image of Sunday's events, and ignore the the confusing grey blur of a reality with many details still yet to be clarified. What was a Carolina Panthers player doing approaching Giants' players during pregame stretches? Did any Panthers player use homophobic slurs like it was alleged? What will be the corresponding punishment for Josh Norman, an equally aggressive opposing player at the center of Sunday's events, in comparison to Beckham's suspension? Those are for different trials. This will be strictly about Beckham, and it doesn't look positive.