When Hurricane Sandy ripped through the Northeast, many New York and New Jersey residents were displaced due to flooding, fire and power outages. Among them were several members of the New York Giants, including quarterback Eli Manning, who had his Hoboken apartment flooded. Another was linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, whose home was destroyed by a flood of raw sewage. Still, Big Blue tried to focus, but after losing two consecutive games, head coach Tom Coughlin acknowledged on Tuesday that, despite their best efforts, the team was distracted by the widespread damage.
"We tried to do the best job we could; we tried to back our week up and tried to put our players in a better position mentally where they could take care of their issues and then come to work," Coughlin said on WFAN. "For the most part, when we were here, I think the focus was here. But to say that we weren’t affected, no, that would be foolish; that would be naïve on my part."
Coughlin knows there are no excuses in the NFL, and the team will not be granted any sort of mulligan because of an act of Mother Nature. Still, for anyone that experienced the wrath that Sandy brought through the area, it's very easy to understand how it could cause a significant distraction. After all, despite being world class athletes, players are still human; they still have homes, pets and family to worry about. All things that are far more important than the game of football.
"Everyone has been affected And our players have, because, remember, they have families, they have wives, they have children. They went through the same things that we all went through. You lose power," Coughlin added. "For example, just as close as Hoboken, there were guys that couldn’t stay in their apartments, couldn’t live in their homes, they had to get out. And then you are always concerned about your wife, your children, whether or not you have gas in the tank, whether or not there is warmth in your home. On a smaller scale, but reflective of what many people went through, certainly we were affected."
In addition to Manning and Kiwanuka, other players like punter Steve Weatherford and tight end Martellus Bennett were also displaced as a result of the Hurricane. And those that weren't displaced, had plenty of their own concerns to deal with.
Whatever the case may be, the cleanup of Hurricane Sandy continues, but following a bye week and a chance to get all of their ducks in a row, the Giants have returned more focused and ready to right the ship.
Photo Credit: Mike Gannon
Also…Eli Manning, Football, Hurricane Sandy, Martellus Bennett, Mathias Kiwanuka, New Jersey, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Steve Weatherford, Tom Coughlin