"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
Why not NFL teams? It does appear, based upon
some recent offerings by stalwarts in the ranks of professional football that
"reverse" may not be inclusive when putting a team together, but it is
certainly an available option. The New York Giants proved that, without
distinction and with certainty in recent weeks by not showing up for their
trip to Dallas and an encounter with the Cowboys following a loss at home to a
Philadelphia team that is running on fumes and more talk than action. New
York went into reverse.
Happily, some wizened authoritative figure within their organization decided
that a stop at the equivalent of MAACO was the order of the day, and the
return of Brandon Jacobs coupled with the need for home-field advantage
throughout the playoffs stirred them to some degree of normalcy this weekend
past. They now remain the team to beat on the road to the Super Bowl.
Tom Coughlin might not show enough emotion on the sidelines, but the Giants are the #1 seed in the NFC heading into the playoffs
However, more puzzling to all that are devotees of the team, and fans in
general, is the seeming inability of Tom Coughlin, their coach, to do more
than frown for about three straight hours. It is Christmas time, eight days
of Hanukkah and he finds nothing at all over which to rejoice, not even the
winning touchdown in overtime. The man is an anomaly. Approval by him is
considered to be a glance, a furtive one, in the direction of a player coming
off the field after a spectacular tackle or catch. A nod is worth ten stars
on the locker room door. His idea of congratulations is not trading you
between halves. Coughlin makes Scrooge look like a father figure that
everyone wants to emulate.
Add that puppy dog-lost look that Eli Manning carries throughout the game to
his coach's less-than-exuberant style of directing his team, and you have the
basis for a drama to equal the happiness of Hamlet. Rumor has it that a
recent DNA test of the quarterback uncovered the fact that he has no
personality genes at all. Is that possible? Seems so.
But he gets the job done.
Really? Not against the Eagles or 'Pokes. He did everything but ask for a
towel to wipe away the tears. The defending Super Bowl champs actually
exercised the reverse gear that the Mara family, owners of the team with one
slightly rich Mr. Tisch, had the option to do and put it in play. My opinion
is that they should just get rid of it, return it to the NFL, make believe it
was never available, and get back to the business of being a championship-
They appeared to be in free fall but opted to build some wings on the way down
this past week. That was good. But, maintaining control of the game, and the
ball, for two days before you score a touchdown is pretty meaningless if you
then allow the guys on the other side of the ball to duplicate that feat in
about two minutes. The idea is to control and then create a three-and-out.
Now, that will look incredibly good on the stat sheet.
Manning appearing to be perpetually lost is not what this team needs if they
are to repeat. Some emotion would be nice. A pat on the butt of a teammate
does not mean you are going apartment or condo shopping together after the
game. A few words to the offensive line as you wait to re-enter the game
might work wonders - even to support that with monogrammed Rolexes while doing
so - their name(s), not yours.
Remaining relatively expressionless for the whole of the game, coach and
quarterback alike, only instills a "what the hell are they thinking?" attitude
among the players.
Being out of synch for a couple of games is not desirable nor embraced with
both hands and arms but acceptable if a bounce-back occurs, such as was
witnessed this past weekend. What does home-field advantage, if there is such
a thing, mean? Ask the Giants themselves and, based upon last season's road
to the Super Bowl, not very much. On the other hand, when the keys to the
kingdom are in your hands then it can be very meaningful, especially if the
weather works to your advantage. Just inquire of Arizona and the New York
Jets, the former a vastly overrated team that runs into reality whenever they
leave their division and the latter a team that could be playing themselves
right out of contention unless they can beat Miami at home and get some help
this Sunday. Then they are in. Would you call that a decisive and season-
making game? New England, however, has to lose at Buffalo.
With a win over the Dolphins, they can also get in as the wild card if the
Patriots win and the Ravens lose while hosting Jacksonville. Not a good
situation for the Brett Favre team whose logo might change to a walker if they
collapse any further under the aging one's rather inept efforts on display
against Seattle. By the way, the snow fell on both teams.
But, getting back to the Giants, they cannot, will not, let up against the
Vikings this week. And, it is as good a game as any for Tom Coughlin to dump
that sullen scowl that appears to be frozen on his face. And Manning has to
exult and derive pleasure from where he is, what the team is doing and the
accomplishments of every player that protects him, runs twenty yards or more,
makes spectacular catches from ill-thrown missives and sacks opposing
quarterbacks that are on the verge of leading their team(s) to a potential
No one has ever said that there is joy in being pummeled by 6'4" 360+ pound
defensive linemen when the pocket intended to protect you collapses but you
suck it up and move on to the next play. That includes a personality
permutation for coach and quarterback alike. It will do more for the team
than either can imagine. Like ensuring back-to-back Super Bowl wins.
Will they do it, either of them, shift to fourth gear? You gotta be