Preseason Finally Ends for Giants

Replacement officials were about the only reason to watch on Wednesday

We can only assume that Tom Coughlin gave the starting Giants offense four series in Wednesday's preseason finale against the Patriots in the hope that they'd have one crisp drive brimming with success to bolster their confidence heading into the season opener.

He couldn't have actually thought that the unit would learn anything about itself against a ragtag group of Patriots defenders so it had to be about confidence, the professional equivalent of an SEC playing their first couple of games against junior colleges with the exception being that no one treats NFL preseason games as legitimate.

If that was the goal, Coughlin's offense fell short. They played like they had met 20 minutes before the game, spoke different languages and Eli Manning took a couple of hits that made you wonder if Coughlin wasn't flirting with disaster for the sake of flirting with disaster.

Hakeem Nicks got a catch and took a hit without any problems, which was something we were looking to see heading into the game and something that should make the Giants feel more confident about their offense than scoring touchdowns against New England reserves would have, anyway.

The Giants eventually pulled their starters, turning the night over to the backups and the latest farce put forth by the league's replacement officials.

It was hard not to notice those replacements, who the NFL says will be on field for the regular season, because there wasn't much football to watch between two teams who were happy to take your money without caring about the quality of the product they were providing.

You'd think a league that's making that kind of scratch would find a way to ensure that the guys calling the game were not refugees from the lowest rungs of college football, but you'd just be underestimating the desire of the rich men of Roger Goodell's NFL to make themselves slightly richer.

The league is banking on the officials becoming less noticeable when the games start because people will actually have competent football. They'd better hope that happens because Wednesday night was a comedy of errors that made you wonder how in the world these buffoons will get a single call right when things start moving at full speed.

That's not a problem for the Giants to solve all on their own, no matter how much John Mara likes to play the role of Goodell's right hand. They can only worry about their own house, which seems to be very much in order despite the results of their half-speed performance on Wednesday. 

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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