NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS
SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS
There's too much to say and too many places to start.
The last five days have been a roller coaster of emotions for me, ranging from euphoria to rage. On many levels, I feel like a NYC urban surfer who just rode the ultimate wave, but, who at the very end had some oblivious tourist get in the way and deny me a perfect ending.
This past weekend I was so high with things like my my birthday; Sunday's Rangers game against the Flyers; another night of celebration after the Giants victory; and then attending the Parade. But then I went to the Rangers' game Tuesday night where The Devils and Refs happened to us. It was a deflating loss to say the least. In the last moments when the Rangers appeared to score, my son and I went into full blown celebration mode....again. How perfectly was this week going I thought?The game however turned out to be a downer after a review. Then Wednesday morning upon going through the NYC tabloids, I come to find myself in a Daily News pic from the Parade; well at least you see my arm, hands, and my phone. I was filled with rage because the guy who ultimately ended up in front of me wouldn't stay his ass in place! Otherwise everyone! - ...was really cool. So wouldn't you know it, this guy blocked me from fully appearing in Wednesday's Daily News. Hence, a moment of rage-filled laughter over coffee. But yeah, I'm pissed. That would have been a great picture to frame.
Now, I finally have a chance to sit and make my first run through the Giants and the Super Bowl. And like I said, I don't really know where to start. So I'm going to take a cue from the Giants themselves and be a little cocky about this first pass; and then most likely work in reverse order.
XXI XXV XLII XLVI
First of all, I'd like to thank this blog for sticking with the Giants throughout. The TROLLEY never got derailed. I may have been pissed off after that second Redskins loss. But rightfully so - C'mon, it was the Redskins. But if you read me regularly, you know at worst, all I ever said after that Skins game was that they now had to prove to me they were the team I was defending all along. In pre-season, I predicted this team would win (10+) eleven games this year. I may have been off on their regular season record. But I always felt this was a playoff team. That, and thank goodness I'm a pragmatist. This blog speaks for itself though. I may have mentioned Super Bowl once or even twice along the way. But I'm sure it was in some far-off goal context. I pride myself in being able to compartmentalize week to week, then being able to separate the regular season from playoffs.
Today, I'm proud to say no one can deny me. When the Giants were at 7-7, The TROLLEY was at it's most confident. I predicted with strong conviction the Giants would beat the Jets and especially the Cowboys. I told you the Giants would beat the Falcons outright. I relished another opportunity to play Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau. And once again, I said it with great conviction - the Giants would beat the 49ers. In Super Bowl XLVI, I held my ground again and strongly believed we would win.
I wouldn't throw all that out there like a frisbee unless this blog existed as testament to every reason why I believed those things to be true. Additionally, I wouldn't have been so damn picky throughout the regular season about certain things if I didn't believe they were maybe underachieving in certain aspects of their game, or if I didn't believe they could do things better, or doing things that were correctable. I wouldn't have waisted my time if I didn't think they were that good. Because if you know me by now, I'll come crashing down if I think you suck and are in need of changes.
I also repeated over and over again my unyielding and blind faith in Jerry Reese. Like most, I did not appreciate losing Kevin Boss, and to a lesser degree, Steve Smith. Losing Barry Coffield was the one that stung me most. But I said prior to the season starting and again along the way, if that's what Jerry Reese decided was best, then that was good enough for me. I repeat; a blind faith. If Jerry said no, that was fine. And very quickly about Coughlin...; I always thought calls for his head were complete nonsense.
On Eli > I firmly believe if you think you have your guy, you take your rookie and put him into the fire and let him learn. I was in full support when the organization decided to give Eli the ball when they did. And I know full well part of the learning process is filled with failures. But it's how things gets done. It's not hindsight; it's philosophy. And so when they took the ball from Curt Warner and gave it to Eli, I decided then to get behind the kid no matter what. I am proud to say today, I never wavered once. Just look at Ernie Accorsi's acquisition now.
Now for my self-serving of humble pie.
When the Media put Coughlin on the hot seat to begin the season, I didn't even entertain the idea and instead said if anyone needed to save his job, it would be Kevin Gilbride. Once again, I rode him hard this season as we headed into the Jets game. But from that game forward, except for some minor running game issues I always seem to have with him, the man had a great run. He did. I kill him on game planning often enough. But he deserves his due. His game planning from the Jets game on was exceptional. - (Except for the Packers game. There's some things I won't let go.)
When the Secondary looked clueless and was suffering from mass confusion earlier in the season, I turned up the heat on Secondary Coaches Peter Giunta and Dave Merritt. Not so much our Safeties, but Aaron Ross, Corey Webster, and the two coaches I mentioned have worked together for some time now. And that's why I was kind of stupefied by their play over the first nine weeks or so.
That's where Coach Perry Fewell comes in. It was his zone schemes that left his Secondary with too many options to think through. In a sense, it paralyzed them. But one thing I always commended Coach Fewell this season was on his adaptability. I knew he was contending with many injuries sustained on the defensive side of the ball. The Secondary was hit hardest. Then he lost two starting linebackers early in the season. And Coach had issues up front with Osi and Tuck as well. As guys started getting healthy again, I give Coach Fewell a lot of credit for ditching his experiments in zone coverage and reverting to a much more simplified and time-tested approach in coverage. But things were looking bleak for him for a bit. And I even said I'd gladly welcome Coach Spags back. But just add up the opponent's point totals since the Jets game. That speaks for itself.
No player has probably earned my wrath more than Center David Baas this season. And I still have my questions about him going forward. In Super Bowl XLVI however, he had himself a stellar game primarily dealing with Vince Wilfork. He may prove me wrong yet.
And now, these are the moments when I felt, I knew we were going to win the Super Bowl.
1) - When the Giants recorded a Safety against the Falcons. See #3
2) - In my SB pre-game post, I called Brady an individual, versus Eli being more of a team player. Then when both teams ran out on the field for the first times before the game, Tom Brady was the only Patriot not wearing his helmet. He was the only player; Giant or Patriot; to do so. He stuck out - like an individual. And when I noticed, I thought - Holy Crap I was right; we're going to win the Super Bowl.
3) - When the Giants/Patriots recorded a Safety on New England's first possession - I finally knew for sure we were going to win the Super Bowl! I've adhering to a personal theme during the playoffs. I feel like these last four seasons have played out similarly to the way things transpired in XXI through XXV. Among the many similarities, there was a safety in XXI. There was another safety in XXV. There was another safety in XLII. And when the Refs called one against the Patriots last Sunday. I just knew. Then it became only a matter of how.
Don't get me wrong, none of that means there weren't times during those games where I didn't think we were doomed. But for as long as the Defense kept making plays against the 49ers and again against the Patriots, I knew Eli would give us a chance. At this point, Giant fans who remember back to at least XXV, knew enough to buckle down for a long, tough, down to the wire game. We've seen these runs before. And that's why no one understands, and no one ever picks us, and no one ever believes in us, except the people who work and play for the Giants, and us Fans.