Coughlin caught up in Christmas spirit

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin made the stunning annoucement Wednesday that he's giving his players Christmas Day off. His mentor and friend Bill Parcells would never pull a stunt like this. In fact, even the ultimate players' coach, Wade "St. Nick" Phillips is bringing his players in for a workout.

Asked if his benevolence had anything to do with the Giants having the No. 1 seed locked up, Coughlin said, "No, no. Because I felt like I could arrange the schedule and we could have Christmas Day. So I felt like as long as I could get our work, which we did on Tuesday. And of course today was a Thursday for us, then I felt like we could go ahead and allow the players to have Christmas off. And in this business you don't get Christmas off very often. So I just thought that as I was laying the schedule out, this might have been an opportunity for us to do that. And I knew the players would respond to that. And they have."

Coughlin also planned to leave a plate of cookies and some milk out for Santa.