To borrow a phrase from the 2011 championship season, the New York Giants appear to be "All In" to make a run at a Super Bowl title in 2013. With the game being played at MetLife Stadium, just across the parking lot from the Giants home base at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, it's pretty obvious being around the team that the game is on everyone's mind.
Normally stoic general manager Jerry Reese opened an impassioned meeting with the media on Saturday by jumping directly to the heart of the matter.
I really don’t have a lot for you guys but I have a couple of numbers that I’ve been bouncing around in my head. The (first) number is 190. That’s 190 days until the Super Bowl is played at MetLife Stadium over there. So, it makes me think about sense of urgency for our team, and the other number is the number 1," Reese said. "And that is, we’ve been to the playoffs one time in the last four years. So, that’s below our standards. We have to play more consistent. I think those are two things that I want to focus on the most."
When it comes to being aware of the Super Bowl, Reese is going so far as to post a countdown in the locker room of the number of days to the game.
"190 days, that’s really not that far away. So, the sense of urgency really jumps out at me. Our team, we’re going to put up in the locker room our countdown, so our guys can see how urgent it is to be ready to go every week," Reese said. "You can’t let games get away from you and expect to make the playoffs. So we’ve got to have a sense of urgency going into this season."
In recent seasons the Giants have made a habit of letting winnable games get away from them, imperiling – and in three of the past four seasons – derailing their road to the playoffs.
"We’ve had different things that have happened to us that have knocked us off-kilter a little, but all I know is we’ve been in the playoffs one time in the last four years and that’s really not acceptable for us," Reese said. "That’s not our standard, that’s not what we shoot for and we want to put everyone on notice, myself included. Everybody’s on notice. That’s not our standards."
Head coach Tom Coughlin has made reminding players where the 2014 Super Bowl will be played a point of emphasis, and said Saturday that he is "fine" with Reese’s locker room countdown idea.
The Super Bowl being at MetLife is like the elephant in the room for the Giants. It’s always there, especially with the league’s oldest coach and roster filled with key veterans who might be near the end of their tenure with the team.
Winning the Super Bowl is, and should be, the goal every season. I wonder, though, if the Giants aren’t putting undue pressure on themselves by talking about it so much (and yes, I know at times it’s because they are asked about it) and making it so incredibly obvious that the season won’t be complete without a Super Bowl ring.
Will that end up being a burden that ultimately drags this team down? Or, will it be a blessing that drives the Giants to – finally – find the week-to-week consistency that has been the missing link for the past few seasons?
We will know the answer in a few months.