Apologies from the New York Giants

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sorry!

A day after a no-show performance led to their being eliminated from playoff contention for the first time in five years, coach Tom Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning apologized to Giants fans for a no-show performance in a 41-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers in the team's final game at Giants Stadium.

"I apologize. I'm sorry. I wish I had an answer," Manning said Monday in a very quiet locker room that didn't have many players standing around to talk. "I wish we could have come out and played better football. I don't have the answer to why it happened or why it has happened kind of throughout the season where we have been up and down in our play."

Most players said what concerned them was the team's lack of pride with so much on the line. The Giants (8-7) had everything to gain. If they won their final two games and either Green Bay or Dallas lost one, they were going to the playoffs.

Instead, the Giants showed nothing after the opening series, fell behind 31-0 and walked off the field embarrassed.

Now all that's left is a game at Minnesota on Sunday against the playoff-bound Vikings, a contest in which the players hope to either redeem themselves or show management they want to be around next season.

It's not the end expected of a team that started the season 5-0, but it marks the fourth time in five seasons the Giants have struggled late. The exception was 2007, when New York won the Super Bowl with a late-season run.

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