First published: Monday, December 4, 2006. EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Nobody likes losers. That's why nobody names airports after Michael Dukakis or stadiums after Ray Handley. The Giants aren't the most popular team after losing to the Cowboys, but it's not just the avalanche of displeasure and disappointment in a team that has lost four consecutive games. It's this, too: The Giants are unlikable. We fall for some teams' resilience and spirit. We admire others for their talent and professionalism, their individual players' character and abilities or some combination of these traits. But only a mother could love these Giants. Somebody blind to their failings and faults could find this team appealing, though it's not. It starts with the coach. I may be in the minority because I consider Tom Coughlin a good one, but he's not doing a good job this year. The Giants committed three personal fouls Sunday and nine penalties, for 94 yards, altogether. If Bob Whitfield wasn't losing his composure and head-butting somebody, Jason Bell was delivering an out-of-bounds hit. It's great that Plaxico Burress felt engaged enough to hit someone. It would've been better if it hadn't been a cheap shot. This stuff happens a lot. It's fine to be a stern disciplinarian, but then your team sure had better play with discipline. It's hard to like a coach with the personality of a footlocker when his team's composure goes AWOL. Then there's Jeremy Shockey, who permitted a pass to spiral through his hands and bonk him in the chest, before it fell to turf. Shockey talks a lot for a guy who drops passes a lot. When Shockey overheard teammate Antonio Pierce praising Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's performance, Shockey said aloud, "A very average quarterback." I asked why he called Romo, who has played brilliantly since replacing Drew Bledsoe, an average quarterback. Shockey denied saying what he said seconds before, claiming he said "a very average player." "I was just talking to myself," he told me. "I wasn't talking about Romo. I'm talking about me." I have it on digital recorder. He said "average quarterback," not player. People like and appreciate players who are accountable. When Shockey says something impetuous or foolish -- as he sometimes does -- then denies it, he's hard to like. We like Burress' talent, but how do you like a player who gives up on plays and his team? It was Burress, by the way, not Coughlin, who called timeout with 1:42 left and the Giants, down 20-13, at Dallas' 12. Dallas would've had less time on their final drive if Burress hadn't erred. We want to like Eli Manning. But he's so passive and sleepy-eyed, so unlikely to display emotional fire, even embers -- and so inconsistent -- that New York's other quarterback, Chad Pennington, remains eminently more likable. We love Michael Strahan when he's killing quarterbacks. But by berating an ESPN reporter last week, he demonstrated once again that he's a bully. Tiki Barber's likable. He should talk to Brandon Jacobs, who erupted when one reporter too many asked him about his 3-yard loss on fourth-and-1. "Somebody better get him out of here, man," Jacobs told Giants director of public relations Peter John-Baptiste. Better yet, somebody take this team away. Brian Ettkin can be reached at 454-5457 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.