David Diehl said the end of the Giants’ season felt strange. Here’s another word to describe it: rare.
With their 17-14 victory over the Redskins on Sunday, the Giants became just the 19th team in the last 33 seasons (since the NFL expanded to a 16-game schedule) to finish the year with double-digit victories but without a playoff berth. The Giants last completed the forgetable feat in 1988.
Only six teams since 1990 – when the league added a sixth playoff team in each conference – have finished the year with at least ten wins but out of the playoffs.
“I told (the players) to enjoy the win and not worry about the other part of it,” Tom Coughlin said on Monday.
But that was tough for Diehl, who left FedEx Field scratching his head after the Giants missed the playoffs for the second straight season. The win in Washington was a capital punishment of sorts for the Giants, who missed two opportunities to clinch a playoff berth with losses in Week 15 and Week 16.
“It really is a strange feeling. How often do you win ten games?” Diehl said. “How difficult it is to win ten games in the NFL? We’re fortunate that we had opportunities there and we came up short.
“I still want to play, especially after we lost to Philadelphia,” he added. “I was shaking hands with those guys and I said, 'I want to see you guys again. I want to play you guys again.' It’s just unfortunate that we won’t get that opportunity.”
Keith Bulluck said the tenth win on Sunday proved that the Giants are one of the top teams in the league. But it seemed to provide little solace on Sunday night for Barry Cofield, who may have played his last game as a Giant.
“It’s the quietest locker room we’ve been in after a win,” Cofield said after the game. “A little somber. I’m thinking after a little while, it’ll set in (that) we won 10 games and we finished off with a win and we’ve got a lot to be excited about going forward.”