The Giants are playing with house money. In August, no one thought Big Blue would still be alive midway through January. You didn’t, and neither did I. Since then, Giants fans learned who Victor Cruz is, the Giants proved you can lose four straight in the second half of the season and still control your own destiny, and Eli Manning may have finally tattooed his name into the “elite quarterback” category – a fraternity I thought he pledged his way into three years ago.
The “may have” in that previous sentence is tentative to change. If the Giants win it all in the 2011 season, you can remove it altogether. That four star gold “C” means he’s the man in charge.
It’s not how good of a team you are, but how good you are for the 60 minutes on the field.
The Giants are not a better team than the Packers. If the two teams played ten times, I think Green Bay would win seven. However, in a blessing in disguise, the Giants got injured at the right time. Osi Umenyiora’s perfectly timed injury got him back just in time for a tune up game in week 17. The whole Giants team seemed to come back just as the regular season was ending as well.
In my previous post I had zero trust in my team to make any noise this postseason. Just over a month ago I watched a struggling football team look weak in the secondary, uphill on the ground, and a clueless on special teams.
Then finally and out of nowhere, the one constant – Peyton’s younger brother, finally finds his team. The defense (and especially the secondary) picked up, the running game reappeared, and Eli’s wide-receivers think they’re some of the best in the league. The Giants still have no special teams unit… but I can live without that, so long as you play solid on offense and defense.
And who’s been on and off the hot seat more than Tom Coughlin? He pushes the New York Giants’ fans and front office to the brink. In 2007 the Giants started 0-2, and were down 17-3 at the half to the Washington Redskins in week 3. I’m convinced if the Giants lost that game Coughlin was gone. I’m also convinced if Coughlin didn’t win week 17 against the Dallas Cowboys he was gone. Somehow he finds a way to rally his troops just in time. My previous post talked about how Coughlin would be gone by the end of January – I’m still not 100% sure he’s safe, but it looks that way.
Now the Giants play the 49ers, a team they showed they can beat back in week 10. They held a one point lead going into the fourth quarter. Granted, they now face the tall task of beating Alex Smith and Co. in SanFran, but again, it’s not how good of a team you are, but how good you are at the right time. That’s why the Giants won the Super Bowl in 2007 and why the 1980 Olympic Hockey team won gold.
Eli has been here before. He’s a quarterback entering the prime of his career, yet with Super Bowl experience under his belt. Will the Giants again hold up their Road Warrior mantra? Will Alex Smith lead the New York Knicks of football to a championship game (a team that’s usually so good but out of nowhere becomes terrible for ten years)?
Who knows… in five years, you may refer to Peyton as Eli’s older brother.