While the New York Giants were playing for pride over the final two weeks, what they really are playing for over the course of the final two games was who gets the right to return next season.
Players, coaches, executives, hot dog vendors- ok, maybe not that far, but anyone involved with the New York Football Giants were playing to see who really wanted to come back and more importantly, who deserved the right to come back next season. One of the most important people who could have been fighting for their job was head coach Tom Coughlin himself, who is in the end of only his second losing season with the Giants since taking the reigns in 2004.
Heading into Detroit facing a Lions team that was fighting for their playoff lives and hopeful of winning the NFC North, it was the Giants who came out on Sunday and looked like the team with a sense of urgency and like a team playing with the purpose while Detroit looked like they had all but given up on their coach in Jim Schwartz; a coach who is heavily on the hot seat and some feel expected to be fired after Week 17.
The Giants had a 13-3 lead, but watched it evaporate into a 20-13 lead for Detroit, but the Giants fought back to tie the game at 20-20 and made sure that the Lions weren't walking away on Sunday at least without a fight; something Detroit didn't seem like they were ready for. The Lions looked and played like a team expecting to be given a gift from the Giants, but what they got was a feisty team from Coughlin and one that simply wasn't ready to let their season die so soon.
With the game heading into overtime, the Giants survived a fumble by Andre Brown and yet still were able to dominate the Lions in overtime and won the game with a 45-yard field goal by Josh Brown that gave the Giants a 23-20 win at Ford Field and knocked Detroit out of playoff contention.
Even though it's only the Giants sixth win of the season which puts them at 6-9 for the season, what the Giants showed on Sunday was they were willing and ready to fight for Coughlin and want him to stick around as the head coach for at least one more season. Most teams who are ready to mail it in and have tuned their coach out don't play like the Giants did on Sunday; they sort of play like the Lions did.
But instead, the Giants embraced the message that Coughlin has preached from the very moment he walked through the doors back in 2004, which was 100 percent effort all the time no matter what the circumstances are, and the Giants did just that. If the Giants had laid down and allowed Detroit to massacre them all over the field, then we might be talking about Coughlin potentially being on the hot seat and wondering if he really was the right guy to be coaching this team in 2014 and into the future.
But with a gutsy victory on Sunday, and hopefully one final one next Sunday against the Washington Redskins, it should show John Mara, Steve Tisch and Jerry Reese that Coughlin is the right guy for the job in 2014 and deserves to be back; even if it is to finish out his contract. Either way, with a team that was "playing for nothing," Coughlin had the Giants playing with purpose, and that should be rewarded with the right to come back next year.
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