In the grand tradition of "Talk is Cheap, Play the Game," and "Finish," the Giants have unveiled a slogan for the 2012 season: "Build the Bridge."
The players and coaches were issued gray T-shirts with the slogan imprinted on the back.
The slogan conveys the Giants' desire to take the outstanding performances at the end of the 2011 season and bridge them to the upcoming 2012 season. The Giants were 7-7 before winning their final six games – four in the postseason – including a Super Bowl XLVI victory over New England.
"They played pretty well," Coughlin said. "New season. Can we bring these six over? Leave the first 14 back where they were, with the exception of a few. Let's bring the good things forward. It's like when I showed them the list of worst to best, and then talked about the playoffs. Twenty-five points per game (allowed in the regular season) and 14 points per game allowed (in the playoffs). We don't turn the ball over, those kinds of things. Let's bring all of that good stuff with us, and eliminate the other stuff. The playoffs; 25 points a game, 14 points a game, one turnover, those types of things. Let's bring all of that good stuff with us and just eliminate the other stuff."
Coughlin wants the players to build a bridge so they can transfer that positive energy from the end of the 2011 season to this year. The players have responded in the past. "Talk is Cheap, Play the Game," debuted in 2007 and "Finish" was the team's 2011 theme. The Giants won the Super Bowl in each of those seasons.
So did the players understand what he meant by "Build a Bridge?"
"After I spent an hour with them, they got it," Coughlin joked.
Coughlin has hinted more than once that he wanted to build. In a conversation with Giants.com in June, he said, "We have moved the bar up. We've raised the bar and the quality of our practices, our preparation and our play throughout the playoffs is something we can all be proud of. What I'm trying to do is to verbally, motivationally, efficiently, from the classroom to the practice field, bridge it - bridge it over to the 2012-2013 New York Giants."
At the end of his conference call Saturday, following the Giants' preseason opener in Jacksonville, Coughlin again spoke of the bridge in response to a question. He was asked about a "carryover" from the Super Bowl and whether the players' "heads were still thinking about being a champion."
"I don't think any of that existed at all," Coughlin said. "I didn't see any of that at all. Matter of fact, the one thing that I could say, with the exception of a few spots, I thought the effort was good. I thought the guys did play hard when they were in the game. It wasn't a great performance, but we did play hard, and we do know where we're at, and we do know what preseason is about. There was not one spot given, nothing that I could possibly detect about them not looking at this game for what it was worth and having any illusion of where we were from last year. The bridge part is yet to come and we're working on it, and we'll see if we can't make a little more progress this week."
The T-shirts will serve as a reminder that Coughlin expects them to do that this and every week.