RYE, N.Y. –- Antonio Pierce thinks Tom Coughlin and everybody else in the New York Giants organization are on the "hot seat" this season.
The Giants head coach responded to his former captain by saying that if his seat is hot, it's because the head coach places such high demands and expectations on himself.
"I don't know what he said or how [or] why he said it or what his intent was there by any means," Coughlin said on Tuesday while at the Giants Foundation golf outing at the Westchester Country Club. "It is a one-year circumstance for everybody. I don't care if you just won the Super Bowl; you are expected to come right back and perform at the highest level.
"Of course in this market, you are always going to be subject to that scrutiny. My goals, my expectations, what I demand of myself and what I demand of this team really is internally driven. It has nothing to do with outside.”
Pierce, who was released after five seasons with the Giants in February following a season-ending neck injury, said in an interview with NFL Network that the Giants are feeling the heat of last year’s 8-8 debacle. The Giants started off 5-0 but collapsed after that amid numerous injuries.
Coughlin, who has two years remaining on his contract, has a Super Bowl ring from the Giants' upset over the Patriots two years ago. But if the Giants fail to make the playoffs for the second straight season this year, changes may be in store. Owner John Mara shredded the team to the media following the season. Pierce said the owner's message put everyone in the organization on "high alert."
"I didn't think it was inflammatory in any kind of way," Giants general manager Jerry Reese said of Pierce's "hot seat" assessment. "I didn't think he was being malicious in any kind of way. I think he was just saying everybody is on the hot seat. You work in the National Football League, you are on the hot seat. There are no passes in the National Football League. So everybody is on the hot seat, all 32 teams."
Coughlin said the urgency has been there all offseason -- well before Pierce's comments.
"This is not a normal offseason," Coughlin said, "because we are all disappointed the way the last one ended. Quite frankly it is a disappointment, which is a kind word to all of us and something we certainly don't want to have any part of."