(Peter and Andy both contributed to this article.) There is a link to the left side that has what we affectionately call the "Giants Encyclopedia." It is actually the Pro-Football-Reference.Com historical database. It has a tremendous amount of information about every team for every year. Click through to the link. We noticed that this year the far right column, DSRS (Defensive Simple Rating System) was negative. What is that and what does it mean? The site has a definition, but here is the reader's digest version: it is a weighted measure of NET defensive points allowed which adjusts for the strength of the opponent. So if you give up few points to a powerful offensive team it is net positive. It is not a perfect representation of the overall performance of the team, but by weighting your opponents it is a truer measure. Good defensive teams that win allow less points to their opponent than average, thus giving them a positive rating. The 1986 and 1990 Giants teams were the highest (+) years in the sample.
Did we lose you? If so, (+) means good defense, (-) means bad defense.
The data for this goes back to 1970. Click on the last header, DSRS. Then click on it one more time. It will order teams since 1970 based on the Defensive Simple Rating System, from worst to best. Look at the results. It is a who's who of Giants incompetence the past 40 years. It exposes the UNCOMPETITIVENESS of a weak defensive team that cannot even stay in games. Look at the company you are keeping, Giants fans. This is unrecognizable football to Giants fans because it is horrid defense. The 7-6 record of the Giants masks the defensive ineptitude of the team. Let's walk through the Hall of Giants shame.
1) 1971 -6.3 4-10 So bad, Tarkenton asked for a trade out of town, and presaged an entire decade of lost football.
2) 1980 -5.5 4-12 Young and Perkins were building something. Little did they know that this 4-12 record would lead to the #2 draft choice that gave the Giants LT, savior of East Rutherford football.
3) 1973 -4.7 2-11-1. Amazing that I grew up and remained a Giants fan. Good thing I had the Steelers and Raiders in the postseason to teach me about what NFL football could look like. This fantabulous season was the demise of Webster.
4) 2003 -3.7 4-12. The Fassel implosion. No Mr. Mara, the prevent offense of the best Giants offensive unit I have ever seen in 2002 in the playoffs vs SF was not the 1985 Chicago Bears light at the end of the tunnel. It was a Mack truck headed in the wrong direction. This fantabulous season was the demise of Fassel.
5) 1992 -3.4 6-10 The Ray Handley & Rod Rust Exacta. Lawrence Taylor: "Those two years set the Giants back a hundred years." This fantabulous season was the demise of Handley.
6) 2009 -3.4 7-6. Yes, a 7-6 team with a negative DSRS, the ONLY Giants team on the entire list going back 40 years to have that distinction. Yes, this winning record is a fraud.
Talk about the company you keep. Of the 5 teams ahead of this year, 3 dismissed their head coach, 1 was a new coach in his second year who was rebuilding and the last was one of those 3 coaches about to be dismissed 2 years later.
Coaches lose their jobs in these kinds of seasons. Imagine what this stat would look like if we did not have that 24-0 Tampa Bay college game? The Giants have the 27th ranked defense in the league. If we did not have JaMarcus Russell and Byron Leftwich to pick on, we'd be ~rock bottom. Go back one year. It is the 5th ranked defense. Spagnuolo helped win the Super Bowl and it carried over into 2008. The Giants peaked too early and got worn down. They still played good defense right until the end.
Spags' unit raised the play of everyone on that team. It’s amazing what a difference one guy makes, but it happened. This is an example of how one man could bring so much energy and respect that it changed a franchise. The offense keyed off the defense and the N.F.L. wasn’t ready for Spagnuolo. While we have read here on this blog and elsewhere about the vacuum of leadership on defense, obviously there was PLENTY OF LEADERSHIP from Spagnuolo to compensate for anything missing on the field in 2008! The same guys and supposedly some strong signings were supposed to keep it going. The problem is that the players began to revolt against SHERIDAN ALMOST IMMEDIATELY. All the wheels fell off the wagon.
An astute G.M. and an organization would have picked up on the obvious problem and acted. Coughlin thought that Sheridan, being the LBer coach, would keep things together. He was wrong. The problem is not that there is a problem. It’s recognizing it and making changes. This is something Coughlin and maybe Reese cannot do. We know that the emporer has no clothes and that is a big bummer. We won’t be back for a while. We’ll see what the Giants do in terms of coaches and players but it will take several drafts to fill all the weak spots. Let's hope that Reese can do it faster and be better than most. He might be a difference maker.