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Why didn't the 2012 Giants 'earn the right to win'?

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, center, looks on

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, center, looks on as field as players, including defensive tackle Markus Kuhn, right, run through a physical evaluation drill on the opening day of training camp. (July 26, 2012) Credit: AP

The title of Tom Coughlin’s new book is “Earn the Right to Win,” and while he insists that it is “not a football book,” it was sparked by the success of the 2011 team that stuck to his guiding principles and strategies and wound up winning a Super Bowl.

So the question that has to be asked, then, is: Why didn’t the 2012 Giants earn the right to win it all? Why were they left out of the playoffs, floundering through two of their final three games, and unable to recapture the magic of the previous season even though they stuck to the Coughlin script as outlined in the book?

“It didn’t change,” Coughlin told Newsday of the guiding mantras from one year to the next. “It’s just the fact that we weren’t as successful. But the ingredients were exactly the same. Nothing changed.”

Well, something must have. The Giants did finish with the same 9-7 regular season record in both years, but the tone of the 2012 season – particularly toward the end – was far different from the one that engulfed the Giants a year earlier and propelled them to Coughlin’s second championship (and his second book).

“If you follow in and you are committed whole-heartedly in the way that ‘all in!’ meant the year before, then you give yourself the best chance (to succeed),” Coughlin said.

So was that the missing element last year? The commitment? Or lack of it?

Coughlin wouldn’t say.

“That’s for me to know,” he said.


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