EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There is an obvious reason why the New York Giants went from a Super Bowl champion to a frustrated team that missed the playoffs.
It's consistency. Tom Coughlin's team lacked it in 2012 despite finishing with the same 9-7 record as a year ago when a late rush took them to their second title in five seasons.
This year there was no late rush. Just two bad games against Atlanta and Baltimore that cost the Giants control of their playoff destiny and ultimately left them cleaning out their lockers on Monday despite a season-ending 42-7 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
It was a far cry from a year ago when the Giants cleaned out their lockers and then boarded buses for a trip down the Canyon of Heroes in New York City.
Emotionally it's not an easy day under any circumstances, said the 66-year-old Coughlin, who clearly is looking forward to returning next season. To not be in the playoffs is not what we expected when the season began.
It certainly wasn't what the Giants expected after opening the first half of the year with a 6-2 record.
However, the second half was much different. New York started it by blowing a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead against Pittsburgh. They were embarrassed by Cincinnati the following week and later threw in consecutive no-show efforts in a 34-0 loss to Atlanta and a 33-14 debacle in Baltimore.
The team had two very different personalities.
When they played like a Super Bowl contender, the Giants were awesome. They beat San Francisco 26-3 and had wins over Green Bay 38-10, New Orleans 52-27 and Philadelphia 42-7 in the second half, too.
The bar is set very high here, general manager Jerry Reese said. We didn't get the job done.