The status of the Giants, and the Bucs for that matter, is further proof the NFL isn't likely to see a dynasty for a while.
The Giants and the Bucs, playoff powers last season, were expected to go deep into the postseason but are struggling for their lives. Repeating or building a dynasty, Giants coach Jim Fassel said, is a virtual impossibility today.
"You can't do it," Fassel said. "Just go back and think about the Steelers teams or the 49ers teams - you can't afford all of those guys. You are going to lose some. ... You only have so much money to spend. That is what happens, and it tears the fabric of the team apart."
This, of course, is what the NFL wants. Free agency and the presence of a salary cap lead to parity and parity leads to the strong possibility of a new champion every season.
Better ratings, increased interests, more money.
"In the NFC this year, the four teams leading it weren't even in the playoffs last year," Fassel said. "The combined records of the Super Bowl teams and the combined records of the playoff teams is a losing record. It is just the way it is. It has been that way for a while. People are starting to recognize it more. But that is the way it is, and that is the way it will stay."
DUNGY ON KEYSHAWN: Colts coach Tony Dungy, who spent two seasons coaching Keyshawn Johnson in Tampa, expressed sympathy when asked about Johnson's deactivation.
"I'm just disappointed," Dungy told the Indianapolis Star. "I feel badly for him, and I feel badly for the Buccaneers. Obviously it's a situation where they need to be going on all cylinders. You just hate to see that happen.
"For a real good player like that to miss six games now, it should be big games coming down the stretch, it's disappointing. It's not good for the league. It's one of those things you hate to see happen."
Dungy said he was surprised to hear some of Johnson's comments about their relationship.
"I'm reading about it now," Dungy said. "From what I understand (the relationship) wasn't very good. I thought it was pretty good. I'll just say I thought it was good. You'll have to ask him."
Speaking of coaching reactions, how's this from the Cowboys' Bill Parcells: "I'm not allowed to comment on players on other teams that are under contract."
CHA, CHINGY: From the no-fun league department comes this revelation: Seven Titans were fined a total of $45,000 for two post-play celebrations in a win over the Dolphins on Nov.9.
Cornerbacks Samari Rolle and Andre Dyson, defensive ends Juqua Thomas and Kevin Carter and safety Tank Williams each were fined $5,000 for one celebration. Linebacker Keith Bulluck and defensive tackle Robaire Smith were slapped with $10,000 fines because they were involved after two different plays.
Apparently, the Titans were mimicking a dance seen on a video of rapper Chingy.
SHARPE DEPARTURE: He has lots of game left in his chiseled frame, but at 35 Broncos tight end Shannon Sharpe is talking about hanging it up.
After scorching the Chargers for three touchdowns last weekend, the talkative one hinted that this likely will be his last season.
"I've already made my decision about what I'm going to do after this year, whether I'm coming or going," Sharpe told the Denver Post.
"My agent (Marvin Demoff) has always told me, "Make sure you leave one year too early instead of one year too late.' And I'm at peace with myself, I really am. ... It's final."
Though he hasn't said things officially, Sharpe has made it clear the outcome of this season won't affect his decision.
Teammate Rod Smith doesn't plan to let his close friend walk away that easily. "I ain't going to let him," Smith said.
HE'S BACK: That whole experiment of letting offensive coordinator Hue Jackson call the plays lasted two games for the Redskins. Coach Steve Spurrier is back at the helm.
"I stepped back a little bit and watched it a while, but I need to be more involved," Spurrier said. "I need to be talking to the quarterback. Hue has done an excellent job. He'll be very, very involved in the play-calling and together we'll get it done. That's the way a lot of coaching staffs do it.
"They'll have a principal play-caller (Spurrier again), but they have another guy that has suggestions. Hue will probably stay on the sideline to provide energy and enthusiasm. I'll use the machine (to communicate with the quarterback) to try to coach him up a little bit between plays. It's no big deal who sends them in. It's our game plan. Hue will still probably call a bunch of plays through me."
RESIGNED TO HIS FATE: Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis is 16-35 since taking over during the 2000 season. Considering his team's dismal performance this year, he is a prime candidate for the ax at season's end, or before.
Coming off last weekend's 44-6 beating at the hands of the Browns, McGinnis appears unfazed about the speculation.
"That's what you sign on for when you take on one of these things," McGinnis told the Arizona Republic. "And the people that are writing that, the people that are reporting that, they wouldn't be doing their jobs if they weren't writing that and reporting that.
"I hold malice toward none. I understand the gig."
NFL ON A ROLL: The Bucs have been penalized 82 times for a league-high 792 yards. The Raiders lead the league with 94 penalties but for only 783 yards. ... In games decided by three points or fewer, the Panthers have won six straight. ... Peyton Manning has won five of his past six starts against the Bills, including four in a row. ... A victory over the Texans will give the Patriots a 9-2 start, the first in team history. ... Rams rookie linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa has four forced fumbles, tops in the NFL. ... Falcons running back Warrick Dunn has 5.9 yards per carry, a career high. ... The Patriots are 5-0 against teams that have a winning record.
- Information from other news organizations was used in this report.