Michael Eisen of Giants.com spoke one-on one with Giants’ head coach Tom Coughlin yesterday, not only about football, but about how the team is managing in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
With the devastating storm and its aftermath this week, do you think the players might be more focused when they’re working, because it provides a respite from what is happening outside the complex?
Coughlin: “That type of stuff is beyond me. I think that what we tried to do with our people was to give them time to get organized in their homes and be safe and secure. Nobody can correct the power situation. Three-quarters of the players don’t have power. Some of them have gone to hotels, the whole thing.
They were off Monday and Tuesday, and I backed Wednesday up so they could take care of things at home. We still had an issue Wednesday afternoon where a player had to go to assist his family, because of what was happening at that point in Hoboken. What I try to tell the players is we’ll help if we can. We’ll help do whatever we can for you. Everyone is in the same boat. Thursday morning was outstanding. Whether they had power or not, they were all here on time. Everything went well that way.
I tried to give them a heads up with the gas situation, which is critical for all of us. I’m going to be in the same situation as everybody else, out of gas Saturday morning for sure. We’re trying to do the best we can, but when they come in, they know that the National Football League is moving forward. The team we’re playing (the Pittsburgh Steelers), they’re full speed ahead. We’re trying to do the best that we can and today we’re on schedule.”
Sports franchises can sometimes provide a helpful diversion to regions hit by natural disasters – the New Orleans Saints after Hurricane Katrina come to mind. Do you think the Giants can do that here on Sunday?
“I haven’t really spent a lot of time talking about that yet, but I will get to that. People are devastated and you think, ‘Where do you start?’ A foot of sand in your living room, water up to the top of your steps…If we can provide something like that, yes. But do we fully comprehend what’s happened? I know I don’t. I see the mess and that’s the thing I see is that hasn’t even started to get cleaned up.
I mean here we are and it’s Thursday. You’ve got the power situation…in the little town I live in, they taped the roads closed and I mean big intersections. They taped it and it’s all dark. You can’t see where you’re going. That’s what everybody is going through. I’m just giving you an example. My kids don’t have power. They haven’t had power since the first of the week. I stayed here until Tuesday night, but I never thought I could leave. …
You can’t help but ask the questions. What the hell have we done to the environment? It’s unheard of. This is not hurricane season. I lived in Florida on the ocean. I know what that’s like. You’re holding your breath from whatever it is. I went through the blizzard of ’66. I was a student. You couldn’t go back to school for a week. The snow was eight feet deep. I’ve been around those kinds of things. This is the same thing. People can’t go anywhere, can’t do anything. They’re desperate for food, for milk, for bread, for gas. This is the same thing. The disruption is unbelievable.”