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Monday, January 21, 2008

Superbowl Preview - New York Giants

The Giants record is somewhat of a double edged sword. They are the first team to make the Superbowl with a losing record. The upside of that is that they are on a 10 game road winning streak. I was not as sold on this winning streak as most people. As the season came to an end they had defeated Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, and the Washington Redskins (x2), that is exactly 1 play off team. So that doesn’t tell us much about how they will play in the playoffs right. Wow was I wrong. They now have wins against 3 more playoff teams; Tamp Bay, Dallas, Green Bay, the 3 that matter.
Eli Manning has always been a great talent, nothing has changed in that regard. What has changed is the confidence in what he can do. On his part, as well as the people around him. Both the coaches as well as the media. Several people spoke out against the Giants playing at full strength against the Patriots in a “meaningless” game, including Skip Bayless and Jimmy Johnson. I think the Giants are sitting at home right now if they don’t get the confidence and momentum they gained in that game.
In the same sense that Coaches around the league should learn a little patience with their quarterback development. Owners, should also learn a little patience from the journey of Tom Coughlin. In the first 4 weeks of this season you would have needed Bill Belichick’s camera equipment to see the tiny thread Coughlin’s job was hanging by. Now all of a sudden he is back to being a football genius. I certainly have not always supported Coughlin (this isn’t going well we are on paragraph two I am on admission of error two) but while part of the credit for his work should go to his new found attitude and relationship with players, a big part should go to the ownership of the Giants waiting ‘til the end of the season to axe him. Yeah you read that right, if this doesn’t shake out the way it has, we all know Coughlin is joining the line of people turning Arthur Blank down in Atlanta right now.
I am a huge fan of the game. I love to watch the linemen work their skills, and I enjoy the technical aspects of the game. But the thing that really tops it for me, and let’s be honest the thing that really make the difference to the peripheral fan. Is the story, the sentiment. On the Giants side I love the story of Eli getting out from under his last name. I also like the angle of another Boston vs. New York struggle. But to me the real sentimental favorite is the Michael Strahan, last real run angle. Don’t let the fact that he will probably return make you think for a second you aren’t going to hear about it being his big shot to get a ring. Strahan who began the year by debating whether he would hang it up, or return for another year skipping training camp, already made reference to this last week. He basically said he was a little tired of hearing about Favre’s last chance to add another ring, when he and many other Giants don’t have their first one yet.

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