I was at the Meadowlands today and I stayed until the bitter end. I don’t get to Giants games often, and I figured I might as well soak up the vibes, dismal as they were. There were two times (I think after Carter’s dropped pass and then after Whitfield’s second personal foul penalty) when my dad and I got up and almost left, but we just couldn’t peel ourselves from the fascinatingly awful spectacle in front of us. Plus, it was Tiki’s last home game, so as he jogged into the tunnel and the scoreboard flashed “Thanks for the memories Tiki,” at least we had something to cheer about.

But at this point, what is there to say? I think the “Fire Coughlin” chant, mournfully and angrily wailed by a few scattered pockets who stayed at the Meadowlands, said it more clearly and eloquently than I possibly can. Such chants mean that your organization is going through a low period. The bizarre thing is that we’re in such a low period at a time 1) when we have excellent talent. I still believe that. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been chanting for the coach to be fired; and 2) we are four straight wins away from the Super Bowl, against teams that aren’t that much better than us. I mean, the Giants are pathetic, sure, but aren’t the division-winning Seahawks, too?

I guess the question for us Giants fans is: What do we do from here? The fact that we’re very much alive in the playoff picture puts us in an extremely awkward position. As much as throwing in the towel with this team seems like the right thing to do, the (theoretical) possibility exists that we can make a deep playoff run.

So where do we go from here? Are we honestly rooting for the biggest miracle in sports history? A 500, or, quite probably, a sub 500 team winning the Super Bowl? Would this really say anything about this team except for that we got really lucky to get into the playoffs and even more lucky that we happened to play well when the 2006 NFC games finally started counting? Wouldn’t we be exploiting some flaw in the design?

I resented the Cardinals World Series victory, as did most of America, I suspect. There’s something about the structure of the pro sports playoff system that rewards teams that shouldn’t be rewarded. And I can’t think of any team that shouldn’t be rewarded by a playoff berth more than the 2006 New York Football Giants. 7-8 is one thing, but 7-8 after losing 6 of the last 7 games is quite another.

And therein lie the contradictory feelings we all harbor towards these G-Men. This team should be punished, for Christ’s sake, not rewarded with a second chance! I mean, we’ve already had a second chance! I was called the Dallas game, and we should have won it. But we blew it, and that should have been the end of our season.

But we went into Carolina and beat them, and in so doing, we earned ourselves another second chance against Philly at home. But we blew that one too. In any fair world, that would have been our last chance.

But no. The NFC is pathetic, we know, so we were granted one last chance to make good on this travesty of a season. If we beat the Saints, a legit playoff team, we could reasonably stake some sort of claim as a real playoff team. And after Eli hit Plax (or after Jason Craft fell down) a few plays into the game, it seemed like we may have finally righted the ship.

Nope. We proceeded to lay down. In a big spot, we turned in an unconscionable performance. Special teams mishaps. Horrendous throws. Dropped passes. Personal fouls. By now, you’ve heard that we didn’t run a play in Saints territory all game. Did you also know that the G-Men were 0 for 10 on third down (credit to my dad for being on that from mid-second quarter-on)? Absolutely horrendous.

It’s hard to blame the defense, because they actually held up pretty well against a really good offense until our offense (which is not a really good offense) did their best to keep their teammates on the field the entire time. Fatigued, having to contend with Reggie Bush’s quickness, what could the D do?

So we’ve blown multiple shots at redemption, where most teams are lucky to get just one, yet we somehow have another. I don’t know how I feel about this, and I don’t have any advice about how you all should. I’ll be watching though. That’s pretty much all I can say right now.