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Former Giant Harry Carson says current Giants missing their collective pride

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — On the grim march to his getaway car, escaping a game straight out of Giants Stadium’s infancy, a game his father had endured so many times, John Mara begged for leniency from a profession not inclined to give it.


"Please let me suffer in silence," Wellington’s son asked a reporter on exit.


Mara didn’t need to say any more, not after Harry Carson did all the talking for him. Carson is to the Giants what Rafer Johnson is to the Olympics — a chiseled and dignified face of better and simpler times.


Outside the losing locker room, in the wake of a 41-9 loss to the Panthers that defaced a doomed building, Carson ripped the 2009 Giants for lacking pride and intensity, and for fraternizing with an enemy that was pounding them into oblivion.


"When guys are whipping your ass, you don’t get buddy buddy with guys at halftime," said Carson, who was near the sideline when he saw some Giants doing just that.


"When you’re getting your ass kicked at home in front of your fans, you should be angry. ... I don’t see the same pride among many guys who are here right now that many of the older guys had."


So when the Giants introduced Carson’s teammate, Lawrence Taylor, at the half, they should have trotted out Flipper Anderson of the Rams, Herman Edwards of the Eagles and every other wretched hobgoblin rising out of the swampland’s past.


On its final Giants’ day, this building deserved so much better from its lead tenant. So did the old-timer fans who go back to Yankee Stadium and the Polo Grounds days, men and women priced out of the new place and sacrificed at the altar of NFL greed.


What a cowardly effort at the worst possible time. When the 2005 Giants were routed here by John Fox’s Panthers, inspiring Tiki Barber’s candid (and correct) assessment of Tom Coughlin’s coaching, at least the home team had its excuses.


Eli Manning was a playoff novice, and Carolina wasn’t half bad.


But Sunday wasn’t just Exhibit A in the case against Bill Sheridan, a defensive coordinator who can’t be fired fast enough. It was an indictment of every prominent decision maker in the house, from Mara to Jerry Reese to Coughlin to the franchise player taking the snaps.


This was a 6-8 Panthers team manhandled by the Jets on this very field only four weeks back. This was an opportunity to rub some dirt on the injuries, to make a legitimate playoff push, to validate Reese’s preseason claim that this roster was deeper and stronger than the one that beat the unbeaten Patriots [team stats] in the Super Bowl two years back.


More than anything, it was an opportunity to honor a ballpark that had earned a lot more respect than the 24-0 halftime deficit gave it.


"To me, it was embarrassing," Carson said, "because Carolina has a pretty good team, but they’re not that good.


"There’s something missing from this (Giants) team that I can’t really put my finger on. It’s one of those intangible things. They’ve got talent, but I don’t know if they necessarily have the heart.


"I don’t really see a lot of life from these guys. ... I’m not saying they don’t have pride, but I don’t really see where the pride is coming from."

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It sure wasn’t coming from the defense, which chose to play a game of two-hand touch. Jonathan Stewart, a backup, ran for 206 yards on a day when Jimmy Stewart would have done the same.


Miracle at the Meadowlands, meet Massacre at the Meadowlands. Manning opened the game with an impressive drive and a touchdown pass, a score nullified by a holding call on Madison Hedgecock. Mario Manningham fumbled three plays later, and the Giants flat-out quit on the spot.


"We didn’t do a good job of tackling today," said Kevin Dockery.


You think? The Giants spent the entire game as if they were trying to avoid injury, as if they still were trying to get Ray Handley fired. Dockery was the worst offender, so Charmin-soft in the secondary that he shouldn’t take the field in Minnesota.


Dozens of Giants were available to share the blame. Receivers dropped passes and linemen refused to tackle or block. Brandon Jacobs managed a grand total of 1 yard on six carries.


The fans who had come for a merry farewell already were jeering early in the second quarter. They were left to cheer a Carolina delay-of-game penalty near the end of the half, if only to celebrate the temporary reprieve.


All that was missing was a plane and a banner raging against the home team’s performance. In delivering their worst home loss of the decade, the Giants made their Thanksgiving night effort in Denver look Herculean in comparison.


Manning ultimately surrendered to the inevitable. To punctuate his absurd scramble and lateral to close the half, a wobbly Eli struggled to his knees. He looked like a beaten-down Y.A. Tittle, minus the blood.


Soon enough, Bruce Springsteen was on the video board singing his Giants Stadium tribute, "Wrecking Ball," and the crowd was hoping the bulldozers would show up ahead of schedule. This ending wasn’t any more appropriate than having Lady Gaga shut down Carnegie Hall.


After the final whistle mercifully blew, Carson stood in the bowels of Giants Stadium and talked about his first home games in the swamp.


"We stunk up the place," the old linebacker said, "and people were throwing things at us — apples, oranges, toilet paper, all that stuff. That was the opening year of Giants Stadium. Nobody threw anything today, but they certainly were booing, and you don’t want to close out a building like this with boos."


Carson went on about game-day adversity and how teams of good character always make a stand.


"I don’t really see it with this team," he said. "When things are going bad, nobody ever steps up."


The epitaph for the 2009 Giants is unforgiving and cold. In the end, they collapsed before their stadium ever could.


Theirs was a gutless way to say goodbye.



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Went to the Giants/Panthers game to bid farewell to the stadium I helped to open in 1976. I was there with some of my other teammates like Karl Nelson, Carl Banks, Jim Burt, Ottis Anderson and Lawrence Taylor. I was fortunate enough to be able to spend time during the holidays with my 2 sons who had not attended Giants games in several years but being at the last game at Giants Stadium was special for me to do with them.


I love all of the players individually off the field but they all stunk up the place between 1 and 4pm. These guys left their hearts, pride and passion in the locker room or perhaps already forwarded those intangibles to the new stadium in advance of next season’s opening. They made a second string quarterback look like a Pro Bowler and a backup running back put up career numbers with over 200 yards rushing. I was embarrassed to see what I saw on the field. I went into the locker room after the game and one of the players apologized for the poor play of the team. He did not have to do that but I appreciated it. The reality is all players have an “off” day but off days cannot come when you are closing your building in front of your home fans on a beautiful December day.


I don’t need an apology but Giant fans who root for the team week in and week out deserve better.

One thing I do know is Wellington Mara probably rolled over in his grave with what was presented as Giants football by this team.



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They're trashing Johnathan Stewart, a former 13th overall pick, as a "backup" running back. He "backs up" (more likes splits time with) Deangelo Williams and would be starting nearly anywhere else, even for us. Stewart is going to be the next Michael Turner, mark my words. That's pretty unfair to Stewart.


BUT, having said that, there's no reason not to tackle the guy.

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