EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JANUARY 01: Fans celebrate after the New York Giants defeated the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium on January 1, 2012 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
It's time for the big dance-not March Madness, but the twelve-team tournament to determine the champion of the National Football League. And the best part of it, and the part that is great about sports, is that you are watching a movie that is not scripted-a movie that you watch because of the unknown factor. Well, Tim Tebow and his religious beliefs, or that other Tim, the former basketball ref, might argue otherwise for different reasons, but I'd like to be naïve and think that sports are like pure drama unfolding before our eyes.
Football is especially dramatic. It's fairly fast-paced and impactful to fans in that there are very few games per year, with windows of opportunity opening and closing constantly. Yet, even though we have no idea how the ball will bounce on any given Sunday (or Saturday), we tend to compare and contrast seasons past or players from today to players from yesterday. I am guilty of this, and I know that many of you are as well.
We think about the 2011 Giants and we say that they mirror the 2007 team that won it all in several ways. We compare this team to the 1990 squad that won it all. We compare JPP to LT. We compare Eli Manning's desperation pass to Victor Cruz to his "miracle" completion to David Tyree in Super Bowl 42. We look at the last month of the season the last few years of Tom Coughlin's Giants, and try to follow trends to predict what will happen. And sure, we saw the schedule, the 6-2 start and were all rolling our eyes as the Giants rolled up four losses in a row and appeared to be in the midst of yet another late season collapse.
But a funny thing happened-the Giants suddenly began playing with urgency, coming through in the clutch in both meetings with Dallas; and in the battle of MetLife Stadium against the Jets. Yeah, they laid an egg against Washington, but instead of harping on how Coughlin's Giants can't play varsity ball in the second halves of seasons, more apt parallels are being drawn to the season many thought was an anomaly-2007. There it is again, right?
Maybe, but we really can't compare the 2011-12 season to anything other than what it is, and if you think you have this Giants' team figured out, you probably don't. Who knows how the ball will bounce, who will make a critical play at a critical time, what the refs will call (please, please, please don't let it be Jerome Bogar, Jeff Triplette or Pete Morelli), who will crap the bed, or how anything will happen once helmets collide and the game clock starts ticking.
So get your popcorn ready, Giants fans. We are in the big dance, we have our game faces on, and it's go time -- time to make new history.