Mathias Kiwanuka (94) of the New York Giants tackles Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC championship Game. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
As we continue our position-by-position comparison of the 2007 and 2011 New York Giants Super Bowl-winning teams we come to the linebacker position.
This is an interesting comparison, showing defenses that were vastly different. The '07 Giants had Antonio Pierce, Kawika Mitchell and Mathias Kiwanuka as every-down linebackers, with Reggie Torbor seeing some action. The 2011 Giants had Michael Boley and Kiwanuka, but used a plethora of other linebackers, especially in the middle.
Here is a look at the stats.
2007 Regular Season
Antonio Pierce, MLB -- 103 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 8 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Mathias Kiwanuka, OLB -- 46 tackles, 4.5 sacks, 4 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Kawika Mitchell, OLB -- 76 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 4 passes defensed, 2 forced fumbles
Reggie Torbor, OLB -- 39 tackles, 1 sack, 1 pass defensed
2011 Regular Season
Mathias Kiwanuka, OLB -- 85 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Michael Boley, OLB -- 94 tackles, 1 sack, 3 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Jacquian Williams, OLB -- 71 tackles, 1 sacks, 5 passes defensed, 1 forced fumble
Chase Blackburn, MLB (5 games) -- 28 tackles, 1 interception, 2 passes defensed
Greg Jones, MLB -- 27 tackles
I think it's pretty clear that the '07 Giants had the better linebacking group, mostly because Pierce was superior to anyone the Giants played in the middle in 2011. Greg Jones and Mark Herzlich were young players trying to find their way in the NFL, and Chase Blackburn did a nice job but he will never be the player Pierce was at his best.
Boley vs. Mitchell is probably a wash, and Kiwanuka/Torbor is probably about the same as Kiwanuka/Williams.
Your thoughts, Giants fans?