Self-Delusion Remains a Hallmark of the Giants - NBC New York

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Self-Delusion Remains a Hallmark of the Giants

Reaction to loss almost as bad as the loss itself



    Self-Delusion Remains a Hallmark of the Giants
    Getty Images

    When are the Giants going to finally accept that there's something rotten with their football team? If Sunday is any guide, it won't be happening anytime soon.

    Tom Coughlin did his customary act during and after Sunday's loss. He huffed and puffed his cheeks into a crimson fury as the Giants were making a mockery of the game, as if the simple act of seeing players with so little composure and so little intelligence actually galled him. Then he contradicted himself during the postgame press conference when he said all the blame fell on his shoulders and once again absolved his players of any accountability for their own actions.

    Conventional wisdom is that Coughlin taking responsibility like that is a sign that he's a great guy and a great leader, but that's just not the case. Great leaders are honest and Coughlin is anything but when he says that it is his fault that grown men act like children on the field. Great leaders aren't so great when they have to keep taking blame for terrible results because great leaders do what's necessary to make sure that they get better results in the future.

    It is exactly the same tune that Coughlin played over and over again during the 2009 collapse and the same tune the Giants played this offseason when they resisted making substantial changes to the roster and expected completely different results. Through three weeks of the season it is safe to say that wishing isn't the most effective way to create change. Some would even say it is delusional.

    It's not nearly as delusional as the spew coming from the mouths of the Giants on Sunday. Eli Manning and Justin Tuck, the two supposed leaders of the team, each stood in front of reporters who watched their team get their butts whipped and said with straight faces that the Giants were the better team and that they should have won the game. They may have outgained the Titans, but it takes a pretty loose definition of better to think that that's enough to make you the better team in a game you lost by 19 points because of an endless list of unforced mistakes.

    This is all so familiar because it is all we heard while the Giants were failing down the stretch in 2008 and while they were crumbling in the final 11 games last season. Not one member of the Giants is willing to stand up and say that it is totally unacceptable. It is nonsense about good practices and games we should have won instead of any harsh assessment about why they actually lost and any fundamental changes to the way they go about their business.

    We're also delusional because all of us keep buying an outdated script for what kind of team the Giants are because of the kind of team they used to be. The Coughlin Giants are well-disciplined and they don't beat themselves, or so the story goes, and so we act surprised when they lose control and shoot themselves in the foot even though they've been doing those things over and over again. 

    The whole scene is very reminiscent of the 2003 season when the Giants looked sluggish early and kept making the same mistakes as they had in past years. Everyone deluded themselves into believing that Jim Fassel, in his seventh season, would rescue the operation once again but the Giants refused to change and lost their last eight games. It's early for such doomsday prognostications, but it is Coughlin's seventh year and it is hard to miss the same kind of systemic troubles that sank that 2003 team.

    Well, it's hard unless you're the Giants, in which case you just keep acting like nothing's wrong while the ship keeps sinking.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for You can follow him on Twitter.