OK, New York Giants fans. The time for mourning is over. It's time to take a cue from your quarterback, put the debacle against the Philadelphia Eagles in the rearview mirror, buckle your chin strap and get ready for a huge football game Sunday at Lambeau Field against the Green Bay Packers. It's time to go forward.
That, in a nutshell, was Eli Manning's message to his teammates during a players only meeting. It really applies to the fanbase, as well. Can't do anything about the past, let's move forward to what can still be a bright future for this team.
If you have been a Giants fan for more than, say, two weeks you have been through this drill before. Devastating losses, especially the snatch defeat from the jaws of victory kind, seem to be a New York Giants specialty. I suggested this Monday, but if you can stomach it check the list of the Five Worst Giants Losses In the Super Bowl Era other than Sunday that I compiled at SB Nation New York. The common thread in each of those? A game the Giants had in hand, but let get away.
After reading the post, someone asked "Do other teams have losses like these?" Well, yes they do. Ask the Cleveland Browns. Ask long-time Oakland Raiders fans about the 'Immaculate Reception.' These things do happen to other teams, but undoubtedly they seem to happen to the New York Giants more often than they happen to other teams.
Losses like Sunday are the break your heart and try to break your spirit kind of losses. But, you know what? They make the ultimate successes even sweeter.
The Giants have a chance to go to Green Bay and clinch a playoff spot with a victory on Sunday. Have you checked what the playoff matchups would be if they began today? Thanks to the Bears earning the No. 2 seed, as appears likely, our Giants would get to go to Philadelphia and take on the third-seeded Eagles in the opening round.
As we sit here today, what scenario could you possibly salivate at more than that? A chance for the Giants to go into Philly and atone for Sunday. A chance to silence all of the Eagle trolls who showed up here the past couple of days to rub salt in your wounds. A chance to shut up morons like this. Could anything be sweeter, or more enticing right now, than that?
I don't think so.
Let's face one thing about our New York Giants franchise, folks. If there is an NFL poster child for not handling success well, it is the New York Giants. And it has been that way for decades, going all the way back to 'The Fumble' in 1978.
- Win a Super Bowl in 1986 (something the Eagles still haven't done, by the way), go 6-9 in 1987.
- Win a Super Bowl in 1990, follow that with 8-8 and 6-10 seasons.
- Get to the Super Bowl in 2000, go 7-9 in 2001.
- Go 10-6 in 2002, follow that with 4-12 in 2003.
- Win a Super Bowl in 2007, start 11-1 in 2008 and then implode down the stretch.
It seems like every time the Giants start to get talked about as a great team, or looked at as a favorite to do something special, they go backwards.
Here is the other thing about our New York Giants, though, folks. Rising from the ashes, doing what experts -- and fans -- think they can't do has become a Giants specialty. They have handled adversity, being down and nearly out, better than just about any franchise I can think of.
It started way back in 2000 with the memorable Jim Fassel playoff guarantee, which preceeded the Giants' improbable Super Bowl run. It happened again in 2002 when the Giants won their final four games to get into the playoffs.
Bouncing back from adversity has been a trademark of the Tom Coughlin era with the Giants. It seems that in almost every season there are one or two devastating, inexplicable losses. When you look at the Giants history with Coughlin, they have gone on and been successful after such losses in every season except 2009 -- a year that still leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.
- In 2006, there were brutal back-to-back losses to the Eagles and Saints that left the Giants 7-8, had the locker room bickering at the coaching staff and had the Giants needing to win their final game to get into the playoffs. They did.
- In 2007, none of us truly believed that was a Super Bowl team. In fact, trailing 14-0 after one quarter in miserable conditions in Buffalo, many of us figured the season was going down the drain. We know it didn't.
As a Giants fan, you have to believe in history. You have to believe this team, and this coach, can once again rise from adversity. I know I do.