Thursday, December 3, 2015

Tom Coughlin must win now or else

In a League of 'what have you done for me lately,' Giants coach Tom Coughlin and Giants General Manager Jerry Reese are on notice. The last five games of 2015 are win or else.

The Giants (5-6) must get into the playoffs as division champions, or face the wrath of ownership that is ready to make whole sale changes if things do not improve. Co-owner Steve Tisch didn't mince words in saying he was frustrated by the 2015 season thus far and wants to see improvement, immediately.

You can't blame him. The Giants have given Coughlin and Reese every opportunity to succeed in New York, even when the masses were calling for their ouster. Both rewarded Tisch and John Mara with a pair of Super Bowl championships, but in today's NFL it's about winning big games all the time, every year.  The Giants haven't done that.

Having Coughlin's head on a platter is nothing new. Back in 2004 when he first took the job a lot of people wanted him gone, because of his no-nonsense nature. He had run-in's with players, didn't get along at all with Tiki Barber, and was pretty close to being fired in 2006. The Giants needed to win the final week of that season and get to the playoffs to save Coughlin's job. As it turned out, it was Barber, of all people, who had the game of his life, leading the Giants to a Week 17 win over Washington to get Big Blue into the postseason at 8-8.

The next season, the Giants cleaned house and got ride of all the clubhouse cancers, and Coughlin changed his ways, Big Blue won the Super Bowl over the unbeaten 18-0 Patriots. A couple of seasons later, we were right back in the discussion about Coughlin's job security. The Giants were struggling in 2011, and many fans bought into the speculation that Bill Cowher would be their next coach. The Giants beat the Jets in Week 16, went to the playoffs and made another historic run to the Super Bowl.

Like he did in 2007, Coughlin bought himself more time. Ever since the 2011 season, and really since the Giants first Super Bowl win under Coughlin in 2007, the main talking point has been when Coughlin would call it a career. He is approaching 70-years old, perhaps the game has passed him by. This conversation continued during a 9-7 season in 2012, a 7-9 season in 2013, a 6-10 season last year, and now, here we are again.

The Giants must win on Sunday against the Jets. They have to find a way to get to the postseason if Coughlin and Reese are to remain, or at least be considered for a return in 2016. Can Coughlin get his players to react the same way he did in the past with their collective backs to the wall? We will find out soon. If he does, Coughlin might once again dodge another bullet.

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