Football is finally back!
Well, at least preseason football. Or, it would have been had someone not messed up the field and forced cancellation of Sunday's Hall of Fame Game. Personally, I love the preseason: it matters, but it doesn't count, so it's just a bit more fun than regular season games. Unless something horrible happens, a loss is just a learning opportunity. And most importantly, and why pre-season games matter, is that it's a great chance to see the rookies and back end of the roster in real games.
But preseason is also the first tangible step on the road to the Super Bowl. Right now every team has championship aspirations. It may not be realistic for every team, but at least now there is still hope. And for most of the league, that hope isn't too far fetched. There have been plenty of examples of teams who weren't great from the start of the season only to "click", or "catch fire", or however you want to describe it, and win it all. The latest two Lombardi's added to the Giants trophy case came in just such a manner.
We all know that the 2007 Giants team was, on paper at least, vastly outmatched by the Patriots team they defeated. But it was the 2011 Giants who have gotten the dubious honor of being called the "Worst Super Bowl Champion" (by Sports Cheat Sheet)
1. Giants (9-7, 56%)
You knew it had to be these guys; the 2011 New York Giants, helmed by Eli Manning. Consider this: In order to find a team that had fewer wins than the Giants but still won the Super Bowl, you'd have to go all the way back to the 1982 Washington Redskins, except that team went 8-1 in a shortened season.
I don't think any Giants fan, even the bluest of Big Blue homers, could say that the 2011 Giants were a great team with a straight face. Honestly, I think that season might have taken years off my life. They were a flawed team that relied on a pair of incredible strengths to cover up their weaknesses. But the worst Super Bowl champion ever?
First off, I have to put this out there: The Giants were 10-6 that year, I don't care what the NFL says. Jake Ballard was in-bounds, and the Giants beat the Packers in the regular season.
But more to the point, to simply point out their record and say that the Giants were bad paints a pall over the what that team accomplished.
Personally, I feel that Eli Manning should have been the regular season MVP that year, as well as the Super Bowl MVP. No other player did more to help his team win, setting a league record for fourth quarter touchdown passes and powering the Cardiac Kid Giants to come-back win after come-back win.
Oh, and they dismantled the Falcons in the playoffs, pitching a defensive shutout to a team that was supposed to beat them. Then they beat the 15-1 Packers at home, making them the first 15-win team to be a "one and done" in the playoffs in NFL history.
So Giants fans, did they get it right? Were the 2011 Giants the worst team to ever win the Super Bowl?