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Tom Coughlin on Giants' woes: 'I'm responsible'

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Tom Coughlin has been written off as the soon-to-be former coach of the Giants so many times by now, it can be excused if he stopped paying attention to the rumor mill long ago.

But even Coughlin won't deny that this year feels different. The Giants are about to miss the playoffs for the fourth consecutive season, their longest drought since the dark pre-Parcells days of the 70s and early 80s.

To compound matters, the Giants are crawling to the finish line. After losing a ridiculous string of close games entering Week 16, the Giants looked like a broken team during Sunday night's embarrassing blowout loss to the Vikings. Playing without Odell Beckham certainly didn't help, but New York's inability to compete was a decidedly bad look.

Giants quarterback Eli Manning, who has never played a down in the NFL without Coughlin as his coach, talked like a guy who's been tipped off to seismic activity ahead for a organization lauded for its stability.

"I have great respect for (Coughlin), I wanted to do my job and do my job well, and get into the playoffs and have a big season, so he could continue to be the head coach," Manning said, via the New York Daily News. "Feel disappointed that I wasn't able to play at a better level for him."

Manning was one of several Giants players who expressed disappointment they couldn't deliver a better effort on Coughlin's behalf this season.

"I feel badly that they feel that way," Coughlin said Monday. "It's a shame that they have to be put in the position where they have to respond about something to do with me. Again, it's not about me. I'm here for them. If you want to break it all down, blame it all on me, I'm the head coach, I'm responsible.

"We lose, I lose the game for our players. Put it that way, leave it that way. We try like heck not to put these young men in a position where they feel badly about the circumstances that the head coach finds himself in."

If this is the end for Coughlin, he'll walk away as one of the best coaches in franchise history and the proud owner of two Super Bowl titles. In a year or two, he'll enter the team's Ring of Honor and applause will cascade from the MetLife Stadium rafters before he addresses Giants fans in that familiar grandfatherly tone.

The end was going to come eventually. If we've reached that point, Coughlin has only good things to look forward to.

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