- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPNNewYork.com
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Despite gusty winds, the New York Giants touched down in New Jersey late Tuesday morning after being stranded in Wisconsin due to the snowstorm on the East Coast.
The Giants, who have been in Appleton, Wis., since Christmas Day for a game against the Packers, finally got clearance to leave in the morning after the blizzard and gusty winds in the New York and New Jersey area wreaked havoc on travelers all across the country since Sunday.
While the Giants were stuck in Wisconsin, Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff were busy "grinding away" in preparation for the team's crucial game against the Redskins to close the regular season.
Coughlin said the coaching staff planned to start putting together its game plan against the Redskins knowing that the team would lose likely half a day traveling back home.
"Practice would still be Wednesday," Coughlin said on Monday of the team's schedule if it returned home on Tuesday. "I think that our study would continue here [in Wisconsin]. The coaches will go into our first stage which would be, for example, an early Tuesday morning stage of game planning. If in fact we do get to leave, there will be a block of time whenever that is which really will take a half a day by the time you figure on traveling over two hours back to the offices. You will probably lose about half a day if that happens, so we would go ahead and get to work [in Wisconsin]."
Even though they have suffered two painful losses to the Eagles and Packers and squandered a chance to clinch a playoff berth, the Giants' playoff pulse is still beating. With the Saints' win over the Falcons on Monday night, the Giants need to beat the Redskins and have Green Bay either lose to or tie the Bears next week at Lambeau Field to get into the playoffs.
"There is a chance," Coughlin said on a conference call that he politely asked to end after several questions so that he could resume studying video. "We have to get a little bit of help to get it done. But there is a chance. That's the incentive."
The Giants were still reeling from their 45-17 whipping at the hands of the Packers on Sunday night. Coughlin said players spent most of their time Monday in a crowded large room in the hotel where they ate their meals talking to one another.
At breakfast, the coach said he heard players talking about their crushing loss but by the team lunch he said the conversation had turned more to the team's travel circumstances, the weather and other topics.
Coughlin said he was told by the flight captain earlier in the day that the concern of flying back to New Jersey was "a lot of gusting winds at a very high mile-per-hour."
At least this time, the team was prepared for a weather delay. By now, the Giants are seasoned experts at handling such delays.
This is the second time in two weeks that the Giants have been stranded in the Midwest due to Mother Nature. Two weeks ago, the Giants were supposed to play the Minnesota Vikings on a Sunday in Minneapolis but were diverted to Kansas City due to a snowstorm in Minnesota.
The Giants were forced to spend that Saturday night in Kansas City. They waited in Kansas City until Sunday morning when they learned that the roof at the Metrodome collapsed due to a snowstorm in Minneapolis. Once they learned that they would play that game in Detroit, they quickly got on a plane that morning to beat a snowstorm that was in Michigan.
The team did not have everything they needed to prepare for the Eagles initially because they left thinking they would be back by that Monday. They were able to get some prep work done for the Eagles later on that trip.
The players said they bonded during all of the time they spent together on that first Midwest odyssey before beating the Vikings.
This time, though, they were stuck in the Midwest after losing a crucial game and possibly their chance at making the postseason.
Tight end Kevin Boss said it was a "depressing" end to a weekend that saw the Giants turn the ball over six times.
Defensive tackle Barry Cofield called the loss and the travel delay a "disaster scenario."
"There are a lot of things that have happened today that I can't believe," center Shaun O'Hara said Sunday night after the loss when asked about having to stay in Wisconsin for another night. "I'll just throw that one on as the cherry on top."
The Giants boarded a plane and were finally getting ready to leave Wisconsin for New Jersey after being stranded there due to the snowstorm on the East Coast.