On the scale of appropriate responses to a 41-9 thumping that many Giants fans are calling the lowest moment they can remember, an apology certainly ranks above complaining about playing time or picking a fight with a legendary player over his criticism of the team.
The problem isn't with the sentiment, but with the fact that both men still cling to a far-fetched notion that they don't know how a performance like that could have possibly happened.
Maybe that's an acceptable response to the blowout loss against the Saints because five wins in a row buy you a little leeway to explain a bad performance. They might have even been able to get away with that kind of explanation for the 40-17 loss to the Eagles in early November.
They didn't say those things then, though. They clung to their belief that there were just small problems that needed tweaking and that there were no big fixes needed to get the Giants back to the playoffs for a fifth straight season. It didn't ring true then and certainly doesn't ring true after watching the Giants catch beating after beating because of the same deficiencies over and over again.
That ostrich-like response to difficulties was still on display in their apologies. Manning shrugged his shoulders and said, "I wish I had an answer." Coughlin said that the Giants didn't play well "for whatever reason." Those are both totally absurd reactions.
Over the last 10 games it would take a special kind of ignorance to not notice the serious flaws with the Giants. Coughlin and Manning can't possibly have sat there and watched the same games that we did and not noticed the missed blocks and tackles. They can't possibly have missed the disappearance of the running game or the receivers running roughshod over the secondary. Those aren't things that you need to apologize for, those are things that you need to fix.
It's perfectly acceptable to stand up and say that those problems weren't things that could be corrected in season with the current roster and coaching staff. Even better, it's honest and that's the only approach that will lead to the repairs necessary to put the Giants back on the right track.