What’s leadership? It means different things to different people. To me, it means someone or a group of people making people better and inspiring them to reach a common goal. The idea, in my mind, that with a leader, the impossible becomes possible.
In football, we define leadership broadly. A veteran locker room is sure to have leaders. You think of the Ray Lewises, the Brian Dawkinses, the Drew Breeses. They ignite a fire in their players, and they use it to reach a common goal: The Super Bowl.
But, in today’s day and age, we see leadership falling through the cracks. Maybe it’s an American problem. Maybe not. But more and more people are concerned with the name of the back of the jerseys, or the dollar amount on their paycheck.
The Giants, it would seem, have more players who look out for themselves than they do for team. Yeah, they can say all the right things in public. But talking and doing are two different things. Sunday night, we saw players playing lazy football. Football at their pace. Football on their terms.
But football doesn’t work on your terms. It works on the terms of the team. Whether those terms are created collectively or by an individual, if 53 men are following those terms, good things can happen.
The Giants don’t have any collective terms. They have their terms. And, if you want to win in the NFL, you can’t have that. You can’t get by on talent alone. You just can’t.
And so, as we watched and reflected on Sunday night’s game, we’re forced to ask one question: If there is no leadership now, who is it going to come from? That, unfortunately, cannot be answered. It can be speculated, sure. But, unless we’re in that locker room all the time, we don’t know who’s going to step up.
And since no one seems to be stepping up, it falls on the coach. Tom Coughlin. The disciplinarian. Or, at least he used to be. When leadership is lacking, the coach is to blame. When the coach loses the locker room, he loses the leadership in that room. There can never be leadership until the coach regains the players.
And, that may never happen. Maybe his message is just tired, old. Maybe there are a bunch of prima donnas on this team, who don’t want to hear what the coach says. Right now, the Giants operate as if it’s a democracy. And this democracy, is failing. There may be discussion, but there is no debate, and there certainly is no input from the younger players. What the Giants need, is a dictatorship. They need an iron fisted ruler, someone to whip them into shape. Maybe Coughlin can do that. Maybe not.
I’m not advocating for Coughlin to be fired. I like Coughlin. I think he’s a good coach. And he has a ring. But, if this continues, he has to go. Circumstantial, maybe. But he has to go if the Giants don’t shape up.
The leadership has to come. From somewhere. Anywhere. The Giants don’t have one right now. And until they find a leader, we’re going to be seeing a lot more performances like Sunday.