"I think we played hard," said Barber, the only player who was introduced before the game. "We just played stupid. We're just not very good right now, all the way around."
He'll get no arguments from anyone.
The Saints out-gained New York in yards, 359-142, and posted 22 first downs to only six for Big Blue.
"We've made entirely too many mistakes," Barber said. "We haven't stopped the run defensively and can't move the ball offensively."
What should have been a memorable sendoff for Barber turned into yet another rough outing for number 21 and Big Blue. At least Barber derived some enjoyment from the afternoon. His two sons, A.J. and Chason, joined him at midfield for the pregame coin toss.
"It was special to have them share in this," he said. "It's something I'll cherish."
A.J. was supposed to collect the kicking tee during the game but decided against it.
"He was scared," Barber said. "Maybe he's not destined to be a football player."
As he walked off the Giants Stadium turf for the final time Barber said he had no special feelings.
"I gave my hat to a little girl in the stands, blew them a final kiss and that was it," he said.
Still alive – barely
The Giants lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 7-8 after a 6-2 start. Despite that they remain alive for an NFC wild card berth. While there has been no official announcement from the NFL yet, it appears that if New York is able to knock off Washington Saturday night and the Eagles can beat the Falcons on Sunday that Big Blue will be playoff-bound. Despite a host of 7-8 clubs and countless tiebreaking scenarios, the Giants are still only a win and some Eagles help away from extending their season.
"Thinking about the playoffs, I don't even think it's on our radar," Barber wisely said.
However, the mediocrity of the NFC leaves one to believe that all you have to do is be in to win it.
Point of no return
At least the Giants return games won't have Chad Morton to kick around any longer. Morton tore the ACL in his left knee during the first quarter against New Orleans and is obviously out for the season.
"He's a lightning rod, he's a spark," Barber said. "To lose him like that, it's tough."
Ironically Morton was injured on a kickoff return. Earlier in the season he was stripped of those duties and replaced by Derrick Ward. He was put on IR last week after re-injuring his foot. Before being injured, Morton muffed a punt, which handed New Orleans its first points of the game.
In Morton's absence, Sinorice Moss took over the kickoff return role (five returns for a 23.2-yard average) and R.W. McQuarters was inserted as the punt returner, although he didn't have an opportunity to bring one back.
The Giants had only six first downs, their lowest total in seven seasons. They had four in a 17-13 victory at Tampa Bay on Sept. 12, 1999. It was also the lowest total ever for a Tom Coughlin-coached team…
The Giants only had 59 net passing yards, which is their lowest total since they had 48 on Dec. 15, 1996 – also a home game vs. New Orleans…
The Giants allowed two different running backs to surpass 100 yards for the first time since Dec. 17, 1978 when Wilbert Montgomery (130) and Mike Hogan (100) turned the trick…
Fullback Jim Finn ran for 12 yards on the game's final play, his first rushing attempt since he ran three times at Minnesota on Oct. 31, 2004. Finn now has 10 carries in his seven-year career.
The Giants officially began their search for Ernie Accorsi's successor the week before Christmas. The Giants hierarchy interviewed its four in-house candidates and a somewhat surprising fifth candidate, Charlie Casserly. As expected, Director of Player Personnel Jerry Reese, Director of Pro Personnel Dave Gettleman, assistant GM Kevin Abrams and VP of Player Evaluation Chris Mara were given a look. Of those four, only Reese is realistically seen as a viable replacement. As for Casserly, the former Redskins and Texans GM, he will go down as the man who passed over Reggie Bush and drafted Mario Williams for Houston before this season. The club is expected to interview additional outside candidates after Christmas, with New England's Scott Pioli expected to be among them.
The Giants were as healthy as they've been in weeks. Michael Strahan finally returned to the lineup after missing six weeks with a sprained foot. While Luke Petitgout remained out among New York's starters, the rest of New York's inactives for the home finale were healthy scratches: WR Michael Jennings, CB Frank Walker, LB Tyson Smith, G Rich Seubert, DT Jonas Seawright and DT Titus Adams. Tim Hasselbeck was the club's third QB.
Happy Anny to '56 champs
Saturday, Dec. 30 will mark the 50th anniversary of New York's 1956 NFL Championship. That day, the Giants took part in a game that many, including those who played in it, say was among the most significant in NFL history – perhaps even more so than the famed ‘58 "sudden-death" NFL title game. Fifty years ago, the NFL staged its 1956 "World's Championship Playoff Game" between the Giants and Chicago Bears at Yankee Stadium. The NFL, then 36 years old, was not what it is today. The game was not even sold out. Pro football on television was still in its infancy; the game was not televised in New York. But the ‘56 Championship Game, won handily by the Giants, 47-7 in 18-degree weather while they wore sneakers to keep from sliding on the icy field, seemed to change all that.
"I'll always believe that that game and how it opened everyone's eyes to the excitement of pro football was the key to the development of the NFL today, more so than the ‘58 title game that gets more attention," Hall-of-Fame Giant Frank Gifford said. "People forget what the NFL was like in those days. It was not America's No. 1 sport. But once we played that game, we became heroes in New York. The thing just grew from there."
Unhappy Ending for Barber
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