Perhaps there is a clause in every NFL coach's contract that he simply can't admit to a mistake. The bumbling, inane responses take place every week trying to defend the indefensible. The latest one is courtesy of Tom Coughlin.
Why would the Giants play for a field goal when leading by three points with 3:01 left from the 14-yard line? Why call two running plays when a touchdown can win the game and a field goal only puts you up six?
"We didn't want to turn the ball over, obviously. We didn't want to be in a position like that," Coughlin said. "You can second guess it all you want. Field goal at that point in time forced them to have a touchdown and score a touchdown. There was plenty of time, over two minutes. But, we just had a couple of really good series defensively. We forced them into bad situations and we had a lot of momentum with our touchdown. We felt good about the situation we were in. We let them off the hook."
The Giants ended up with a field goal and a 20-14 lead before a two-minute TD drive by the Chargers won the game 21-20.
It's clever -- and in some cases fair -- for coaches to always fall back on the "You can second-guess it all you want" and "You're being a Monday morning quarterback" line as a defense when a decision turns out to be wrong. It's an understandable tactic to defend themselves against too many results-oriented fans (and media members) who only look at the outcome rather than the decision.
But it can't fly when the decision truly is abominable. The conservative playcalling in that situation was entirely misguided for one reason above all others: the field goal was a chip shot even with two incompletions.
Coughlin spent time in his press conference explaining that a six-point lead forced San Diego to score a touchdown rather than tie with a field goal. Thanks for the insight. A lot of people needed that information.
Had the Giants been somewhere around the 35-yard line, where every yard would have made a field goal more likely, running plays on 2nd-and-14 and 3rd-and-10 would have had some merit. But the extra yardage was meaningless in making the field goal more likely.
And the quote "We didn't want to turn the ball over, obviously" is exactly that: obvious. That wasn't a time to go into a shell and be petrified of an interception. It was a prevent offense and cost the Giants a chance to end the game.