COUGHLIN: TIME FOR 12TH MAN TO GET LOUD
"Whether it was the Polo Grounds, where Charlie Conerly was the quarterback,
or Yankee Stadium, where Y.A. Tittle called signals, or Giants Stadium during
the Phil Simms era, the Giants have
largely enjoyed a tangible home-field advantage that was intimidating for
opponents and inspiring to the home team.
So far that hasn’t been the case at MetLife Stadium, where the seats are
state of the art but the on-field product at times has been second rate. The
Giants are 8-6 since the building opened and a mediocre 3-3 this season,
including ugly losses to the Seahawks and Eagles. On paper that nullifies
whatever psychological edge the Giants might have playing their final three
games of the regular season in their home building.
OUR GIANTS BLOG
The Redskins are in town Sunday, followed by a Christmas Eve showdown against
the Jets when the Giants technically will be the visitors. The regular season
concludes with the Cowboys coming east on New Year’s Day. The Giants, leaders in
the NFC East, may need to win all three to ensure a spot in the postseason.
That’s why Tom Coughlin all but
made a public plea for Giants fans to step up their game during this final
“Our fans getting into this game, this time of the year, the excitement of
this time of the year, being in position, having all these games be very
meaningful, very critical, I think it’s very important that we’re home and I
think it’s very important that the 12th man really, really be excited about this
time of the year,” the coach said.
It wasn’t exactly the “This is our house” speech in the movie “Rudy,” but
clearly the Giants head coach hopes the home crowd will give his team a lift
over the next three weeks.
“Hopefully, it’s going to be a huge advantage for us,” he said.
It hasn’t been thus far. The Giants, 5-3 at home last year, have lost their
last two homes games against the Eagles and the Packers, though the Giants view
those losses differently. They failed to match the intensity of the Eagles and
were whipped physically in losing 17-10 in November. But they went toe-to-toe
against the unbeaten Packers, who kicked a game-winning field goal with no time
left to pull out a 38-35 win.
“After the Green Bay game, I think our fans are really proud of us,” said
receiver Victor Cruz. “They’re going to be behind us 100 percent. It’s going to
be loud and a great environment.”
That would be ideal. This year’s elite teams have all been dominant at home
this year. The Ravens are 7-0, while the Packers and Saints are 6-0. The Jets,
Steelers and 49ers are 6-1, while the Texans and Patriots are 5-1. The Jets’
success at MetLife should be especially embarrassing to the Giants, especially
with all the preseason talk about taking over the town.
Giants safety Deon Grant admitted
playing at home doesn’t mean much.
“We don’t look at it as an edge,” he said. “We’ve lost games in our building.
We just need to focus on the game and take care of business.”
It also doesn’t help the Giants that the three teams they’ll face to finish
the regular season are all familiar with MetLife. The Redskins are division
rivals who played here last January, losing to the Giants 17-14. The Cowboys
have played twice at MetLife, beating the Giants 33-20 in November 2010, and
losing to the Jets, 27-24, in the opening week of this season.
Maybe playing at home simply boils down to this:
“It’s just nice that we don’t have to get on the plane,” said defensive end
Dave Tollefson. “It doesn’t affect how you play. If we don’t play at a high
level, we’re going to get beat.”