The Giant Hobglobin

“Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. He might just as well have been talking about John Mara, co-owner of the New York Giants football team, who is preparing a new contract for Tom Coughlin, their head coach, because, said Mara, the Giants believe in consistency.

What consistency is he talking about — that for the last three years Coughlin’s team has folded at the end of each season, losing 4 of their last 5 in 2008, 8 of their last 11 in 2009, and 2 of their last 3 this season with the playoffs on the line, giving up 73 points in a span of 68 minutes in the two losses, and finally barely managing to beat a second-rate team with a third-rate quarterback? Or the consistency of spending every game wearing headphones but never using them, as far as I’ve seen, to communicate with his coaches? Or the consistency, as far as I’ve seen, of never calling his players together on the sidelines to do what coaches do — namely coach? Or the consistency of playing a punter for a full season, who from his first muffed snap showed himself as the Chuck Knoblauch of punters? Or the consistency of kickoff and punt return teams that couldn’t run back kickoffs or punts? Or the consistency of coaching a team that week after week led the league in turnovers? Or the consistency of losing 4 of the 5 games they played this season against teams that had winning records?

Tom Coughlin may be a good man, but the record proves he is not a good football coach. Aside from the one inspired playoff run in the 2007 season when the Giants won the Super Bowl, they have had only 3 out of 6 seasons with a winning record under Coughlin, losing in the first round of the playoffs in their three appearances. And he is not a leader, which the Giants now desperately need on the sidelines because they haven’t got one on the field on either side of the ball.

So yes, they are very consistent — mainly in their underachievement in most of the years that Coughlin has been their head coach, a consistency likely to continue in Mr. Mara’s apparent ignorance of not just Emerson’s but also Albert Einstein’s quote that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”