The Giants are getting a little predictable when it comes to one aspect of their game: the coin toss.
They have won the last three in a row, and each time Tom Coughlin has had his captains defer possession of the football.
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For years, Coughlin was adamant about receiving the ball at the start and setting the tone whenever he won the toss. Before this season, he had deferred only seven times as a Giants coach. Now, though, his thinking has changed.
Asked in an interview with Giants.com whether he will ever take the ball again when he wins the toss, he said, "Probably not."
Coughlin has math on his side.
"The percentages [three weeks ago against Atlanta] were overwhelmingly in favor of deferring at home," he said of the first time he did it this season. "The percentage was 65 percent, I think, of people who deferred at home and won the weekend before. I told my team, perhaps it was an anomaly. I told my staff it will come back. Most of the time, it's 48, 52 percent, something like that. Well, it did come back, but I still deferred. And the reason I deferred is that it made great sense for us. If you remember, we had 17 unanswered points before and after the half in a game that we should have won. But, theoretically, if you could plot it to score before the half and to have the ball coming out at the half, that's what you want."
It does put the defense on the field first and can allow an opponent to score the opening points in a game.
"That's what the whole idea is, stop them, get the ball back," Coughlin said. "A lot of times it isn't great field position, but you've got the ball back. So now it's just like taking the kickoff and you're hoping you have an opportunity to return after the half."
The Giants have had that opportunity in each of their first four games. The only time they lost the coin toss was in Dallas, and the Cowboys took the ball anyway.
Coughlin made it clear that the deferring rule is not set in stone. Something such as weather could change his mind later in the season. Or perhaps an extremely hostile environment or powerful opposing offense.
"You have to understand that everything in this game is so calculated," he said. "When you defer, what you really want to have happen is score at the end of the first half, score at the beginning of the third quarter. That's incredible how important that is."
Of course, the key is winning the coin toss. The Giants aren't the only ones thinking this way.
"Now they defer, too," he said of opponents throughout the league. "Everybody's doing it now."