Part of the Giants’ recent collapse can be attributed to injuries to
seven of their starting players. Widespread injuries to key players like
these can be significant obstacles for many professional football teams to overcome.
In my view, however, the Giants problems are a bit more deep seated than having injured
The Giant organization is starting to resemble a dysfunctional
family. Players are not playing to their potential. There is a significant amount
of chaos on the field and in the locker room. Some athletes are making plays which
indicate a widespread lack of focus and intensity.
There also appears to be a substantial amount of friction between the players and the
head coach. In addition, there seems to be very little comraderie, cohesion, or team spirit
right now. If you watch the Giants’ sidelines during the game, you will see
lots of individual frustration on the part of the players and the coaches. There
looks like there is very little closeness or pulling to together to solve the current crisis.
Superior teams and coaches seem to function like a military unit with a
well respected general at the helm. Take a look at many of the teams that
have created dynasties in football. The Pittsburgh Steelers, The San Francisco
Forty Niners and The New England Patriots all had well-respected coaches and
great team chemistry.
In college football, there have been a number of coaches who have
been capable of this kind of coaching on a consistent basis: Joe Paterno
at Penn State and Pete Caroll at USC are excellent examples of coaches who
are well liked and well respected leaders who know how to field winning teams.
Strong leaders who can build teams have had success in other sports as well.
The Boston Celtics, The New York Yankees and The Atlanta Braves are examples
of other teams that have excelled because of great coaching, great managing and
good team chemistry.
Bob Coughlin, the Giant head coach, appears to be a very bright football man.
He has a great head for statistics. However, he seems to be having some difficulty in
getting the most out of his players and in building team chemistry amongst his players
and in getting his team to act like a team.
This is not an easy task since many of today’s athletes are free spirits who
are more concerned with their own statistics and salaries than they are with winning as a
team. Nevertheless, the great coaches and great managers seem to find a way to recruit
the right players and build a solid team foundation based around a proven system for
Presently, it does not appear that the coach has the respect of the team. It also
does not seem like the players like the coaching staff very much. Again, winning
coaches seem to be able to develop positive relationships with players and among
players while they teach them how to play within their system. This is not happening
at The Meadowlands right now.
In my mind, no one was ever better at building winning teams than was John Wooden,
the outstanding head coach of the UCLA Bruins basketball team. Wooden the soft
spoken gentleman, brilliant psychologist and outstanding motivator was a master at
preparing his teams and at helping his athletes play to their fullest potential.
Wooden’s thoughts on coaching, motivating and managing players are described
in great detail in his writings These books would be a great read
for the Giant coaching staff and for the players at this point in the season.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., is a Psychotherapist and The Founder of StayInTheZone.com.
He coaches many world class athletes and has developed a self-help program
for athletes, coaches and parents who want to improve their performance.