Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
When you isolate Plaxico Burress' latest transgression (skipping a neck treatment), it doesn't seem like a big deal. But with Burress' growing body of work off the field, it becomes another maddening episode for Giants head coach Tom Coughlin.
This is a man who preaches team above all else, and this is a player who doesn't quite get that concept. It would be one thing if Burress were a 22-year-old rookie fresh out of college, but he's a 31-year-old man who loves challenging authority. Some people win our respect by challenging authority, but Burress comes off looking like a petulant child.
My colleague Jeff Chadiha traveled to New Jersey to cover what we thought could be a Super Bowl preview. But because of Burress' actions Saturday, Jeff barely mentioned the game in his column. It's too bad, because the Giants asserted themselves once again as the team to beat in the NFC. And I understand why Coughlin was frustrated at the mention of Burress' benching to start the game. He may have snarled at reporters, but behind closed doors, Burress is the one he's angry with.
But as Jeff points out, Burress doesn't seem capable of showing remorse. He blew off his recent suspension because of his noble effort -- to drop off his son at school. And on Sunday, he basically suggested that Coughlin was out of touch.
"The coaches who are around me every day know what kind of person I am," Burress said. "My receivers coach [Mike Sullivan] and the offensive coordinator [Kevin Gilbride] know who I am. I'm not around Coach Coughlin every day so he's not as involved with me."
At the end of his column, Chadiha wonders if Burress' selfish behavior will prevent the Giants from winning another title. The good news for Giants fans is that quarterback Eli Manning does a nice job of ignoring whatever Burress is doing off the field. Coughlin handles things a bit differently, but he's not going to let one player stand in the way of progress. If he wants to sit Burress down again at some point, the Giants are loaded at receiver. Might not be a bad idea.
On Sunday, he was little more than an expensive decoy. Something tells me they could've found a way to beat Pittsburgh without Burress' two catches for 15 yards.