The 2013 NFL Playoffs are proceeding without the New York Giants. When all is said and done about a month from now, though, the Giants will still own two of the last six Super Bowl titles.
Jack Bechta of the National Football Post recently put together some thoughts analyzing the '5 traits of an NFL dynasty.'
With both the long-range success of the past few seasons and the short-term failure of 2012 in mind, here is a look at Bechta's five traits and how the Giants stack up in each of them.
A Special QB
Yes, there is no doubt the Giants have this. Eli Manning did not have a special 2012 season, but he has two Super Bowl rings that the Giants would not have gotten without what he accomplished. There is still a lot of great football in his future.
Just for the sake of argument, here is part Bechta's description of what makes a great quarterback -- and it has nothing to do with passer rating:
Special means that the QB can make plays that other QB’s can’t. They can win games on their own. They are like an extra coach on the field. You want the ball in their hands on the final series of a game when your team is behind. ... A special QB can hide a lot of a team’s deficiencies in other areas. A special QB makes his line better by getting rid of the football. He makes his receivers better by giving them chances to make plays. He takes pressure off the coaches by making the right adjustments at the line of scrimmage.
Anyone really going to argue that Manning doesn't fit that description?
Stability At The Top
Umm ... the Giants are the NFL poster child for stability. The Mara family founded the team in 1925, and still owns it. Tom Coughlin has been the head coach since 2004. Manning has been the quarterback since the middle of Coughlin's first season. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride -- like him or not -- has been with Manning the whole time, and being in one system has been a huge benefit to him. Ask any quarterback who has to change systems every year or two how difficult that it. General manager Jerry Reese has been in that spot since 2007.
Bechta, of course, recognizes that the Giants belong in this category. He says of teams with stability:
These teams have philosophies, systems, and leaders that are strong and proven. I love sending young players to these teams because I know they will be developed. These teams have plans for every one on their roster and practice squads. The owners also have limited roles and trust the football people to do their jobs.
An Owner Committed To Winning And Not Just Profits
I don't think anyone will ever question the commitment John Mara has to ensuring that the Giants have every chance to be a winning team. Remember his tirade after the disappointing 8-8 2009 season?
A Great Scouting Department, System And Philosophy
The Giants have had a few misses in the second and third rounds of the draft in recent years, but it's hard to argue with the overall success of the work done by both the college and pro scouting departments of the Giants. There is a reason why Marc Ross and Dave Gettleman are getting interviews for vacant GM jobs around the league.
Some of the best teams in the NFL have the least turnover in their scouting departments. A team's scouting department is their R&D and helps to keep the pipeline full of talent just like great pharmaceutical companies do with new drugs.
Check the bios of the Giants front office people and scouts, and you see that there are no newbies. These are experienced people who know each other, know what the organization is looking for, know how to do their jobs and have proven to be good at them.
Coaches Who Develop Young Players
This is the one area where I'm sure many Giants' fans will argue that this coaching staff occasionally (and yes, some of you will say more than occasionally) falls down. I would argue differently. I would argue that the Giants do a tremendous job developing young players, but that there is sometimes a bit too much reluctance to use players while they are being developed.
You can make the argument that was the case this season with first- and second-round picks David Wilson and Rueben Randle. In hindsight, I don't believe you can make the argument that the Giants did a poor job developing either player -- just look at the improvement from beginning to end. You can easily make the argument both players didn't get enough opportunities along the way, especially with the physical conditions of Ahmad Bradshaw and Hakeem Nicks.
With the cap limiting teams from stock piling all the talent, they have to develop young players. Late round picks and undrafted free agents can take years to develop. ... Coaching is teaching and with the fast moving carousel that is NFL coaching, a lot of the teaching part gets lost. If your team is not developing the bottom of the roster they will get exposed when injuries pile up or when they lose their best players to free agency.
Developing the bottom of the roster is one of the things the Giants do best. Look at Will Hill, Jacquian Williams ... even Victor Cruz when you consider he was undrafted. Since 2008 players like Terrell Thomas, Mario Manningham, Will Beatty, Andre Brown and Linval Joseph are all examples of players who did not really help the Giants in their first season -- or maybe first couple of seasons -- but eventually became quality players.
So, I would argue that the Giants meet Bechta's 'development' criteria, but that a little more open-mindedness at times about finding roles for select young players quickly could be beneficial in the short term.
Thoughts' Giants' fans?