EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — As he marched onto the MetLife Stadium field Monday night, Tom Coughlin did not come across like a man one day removed from losing a football game by three touchdowns. The overlord of the Jacksonville Jaguars had two good reasons to project the radiant, puffed-chest vibe of someone who had just won the Super Bowl:
1. He would hold the Lombardi Trophy in his hands during a halftime ceremony honoring the 10-year anniversary of his New York Giants’ epic victory over the 18-0 New England Patriots.
2. He would watch live as the former assistant who replaced him, Ben McAdoo, coached like a hopeless rookie at the start of his sophomore year.
Coughlin isn’t enthusiastically rooting for McAdoo to lose the way the New York Giants coach lost the home opener to the Detroit Lions by a 24-10 count. But people who know the 71-year-old Jaguars executive say he was more devastated than he publicly let on when he was forced out after the 2015 season. Coughlin is human, and it’s perfectly human for a two-time Super Bowl champ separated from a job he adored to hope his successor reminds everyone why he was so valuable in the first place.
On that front, McAdoo is making Coughlin more popular with New Yorkers now than he was during his final four playoff-free seasons.
“Put this game on me,” the Giants coach told his players in the locker room.
“Put this game on me,” the Giants coach told the reporters in the interview room.
Actually, we’ll do McAdoo one better. We’ll put the entire 0-2 start on him, even though the hobbled Odell Beckham Jr. couldn’t go against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 1 and couldn’t rise even halfway to his otherworldly standards against the Lions on Monday night. The Giants have scored 13 points in eight quarters of play; they haven’t scored fewer points in their first two games since they managed seven points in the first two games of 1947, when you could buy a gallon of gas for 15 cents.
So far, McAdoo’s offense is worth less than that in 2017.
The coach asked for the blame Monday night, but then he placed full culpability for the fourth-and-goal, delay-of-game flag squarely on Eli Manning’s shoulder pads.
“Sloppy quarterback play,” McAdoo said of the penalty that turned a touchdown attempt into a field goal. Although Manning later admitted that the quarterback is always at fault on delay-of-game calls, McAdoo didn’t need to fire that spiral into the back of a two-time Super Bowl MVP who is usually among the…