NY Giants 2009: The Pain Is Over

AJ CusimanoCorrespondent IDecember 28, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - NOVEMBER 01:  Osi Umenyiora #72 of the New York Giants stand on the field against the Philadelphia Eagles on November 1, 2009 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Osi should hang his head in shame.

As I watched yesterday unfold in my seat at Giants Stadium, it was clear this season was ending in a very ugly manner.  The level of effort by this Giant team was an embarrassment to long time Giants fan who recall the drought of 1964-1980.  I have never seen such a lack of emotion, desire and heart shown by this team, mostly on the defensive side of the ball.

You can blame Bill Sheridan all you want, and I am not a fan of the defensive coordinator, but this boils down to the players not playing.  You can talk about schemes all you want, but I have seen better tackling and fundamental execution in pee-wee football.

In my opinion, playing defense requires heart and will.  That is, enforcing your will on your opponent until he breaks.  Yesterday, from the first snap, Carolina clearly was going to enforce their will on the NY Giants defense.  The fans came to the game to celebrate a stadium farewell and hopefully a march to the playoffs.  What they were handed was a wrecking ball being driven by the Giants defense.

Bruce Springsteen at halftime could not have been more appropriate.

New York Giant Legends, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor, were both at the game to  "celebrate" the closing of the stadium.  Both questioned the team's heart and leadership.  LT left after the halftime ceremony, questioning the lack of leadership on this team.

Harry Carson was quoted as saying, "Guys now, they're playing against one another, but yet, they're friendly with the guys they are playing against...I can understand that to a certain extent.  But when guys are ripping your butt, you don't get buddy-buddy with guys at halftime, 'cause there were a couple of guys who I saw buddy-buddy."

This was a direct reference to Osi, who was seen walking off the field at halftime, his arm draped around the shoulders of Julius Peppers.  Another player who decides which down he wants to play on.  If Osi was such a leader and supposed heir apparent to Michael Strahan, he would be angry and running off the field, not talking about the whooping his good friend is giving to his team.

Harry Carson went on to say, "You have to go out and play with an attitude, and I don't see that in any of these guys...When you're getting your butt kicked at home, in front of your fans, you should be angry, as opposed to sort of hanging out with guys you're playing against.  You don't do that."

It was a disgrace at halftime, so much so that the halftime ceremony seemed meaningless.  Many fans were gone by the end of the third quarter.

The day that began with such hope for a playoff spot, and a beautifully sung National Anthem by Kate Mara.  Offensively it started with a drive that looked like the start of a playoff run.  It ended sourly with the Carolina Panthers exulting in a total destruction of this Giant team.

Wellington Mara is turning in his grave.