Monday, February 11, 2008

A Victory of "GIANT" proportions...

I realize the Super Bowl was now over a week ago, but as a Giants fan, I am still overjoyed and in utter disbelief of what occurred last week. The unthinkable. Yes I know I predicted it would happen, but even still, it really did happen. As a Giants fan, you come to expect the worst. The Giants can go from beating the best team in the NFL one week to getting embarrassed by a struggling Arizona Cardinals team the next. The Giants of recent times seem to forget to show up for the easy wins on occassion. Then they get written off with no chance to take down the top guns in football, and they wind up making a game out of those contests. I have seen them take down the "fastest show on turf" in the Rams glory days & saw them end the Denver Broncos perfect 14-0 season in 1998. When the odds are against them, the Giants always seem to push themselves a little bit harder. This certainly proved to be the story of their season this year.

Down by 2 TDs in the snow to a mediocre Buffalo Bills team in week 16 this season, the Giants seemed destined to lose in a must-win situation. Riding the backs of RB Brandon Jacobs, who rushed for 145 yds & 2 TDs, late-season, rookie sensation Ahmed Bradshaw, who added 151 yds & a TD, and a sturdy defense, the Giants came back to embarrass Buffalo, 38-21. After securing a playoff spot the Giants next task was to prevent New England from becoming the first team in NFL history to go 16-0 in the regular season. Although they came close, the Giants failed to spoil the Pats perfect season, losing 38-35. But no worries, the odds would be against the Giants for the entirety of the playoffs, & each game they managed to push themselves harder & harder.

After ruining the high hopes of Tampa Bay, Dallas, & Green Bay, the question became: could the Giants be the spoilers one more time? 18-0 was standing in their way. The Giants needed a perfect performance to take down the Pats and a perfect performance was what they brought. The Giants defensive front seven put pressure on QB Tom Brady the whole game, sacking him 5 times and hitting him 9 other times. Perhaps the game's best quarterback of all-time, the record-setting QB could not look any more flustered than he was all game dealing with the Giants. The record-setting offense was held to just 14 points after averaging over 30 a game this season and scoring 38 in week 17 against the Giants. It was truly incredible how well the Giants defense played.

Had the offense only managed to score 10 pts it would have been a complete disappointment after the way the Giants defense had played. The defense carried them throughout the playoffs, but it came down to the last drive with less than 3 minutes to go in the game, that left the Giants fate in the hands of Eli Manning and their offense. The drive was magnificent. A successful 4th down conversion, followed by what I believe to be the greatest play in Super Bowl history. Eli Manning, a known pocket QB with limited mobility, managed to slip out of the grasp of Richard Seymour (who looked to have a sure sack), then as Manning emerged behind the line he rolled to his right and threw up a prayer to David Tyree who made the most miraculous, acrobatic catch; holding the ball to his helmet as he fell to the ground with Rodney Harrison, he transferred the ball to his hands, keeping it in their possession without letting it hit the ground as he collided with the field. After a great effort by Steve Smith to convert a 3rd down with 40 seconds remaining, Eli Manning dropped back in the shotgun & hit Plaxico Burress on a perfect fade route in the corner of the endzone to give the Giants a 17-14 lead that would hold for the final 35 seconds. My friends and I couldn't believe it and the group of us that were Giants fans were completely overjoyed and in shock. It was the greatest game I had ever witnessed the Giants play and I couldn't have been happier.

In all my years following the Giants, I had seen them put up some pretty awful displays on the football field and also seen them do some pretty great things as well. This was by far the greatest thing I had ever seen them do. Eli Manning hushed critics and established himself as a Super Bowl champion quarterback and MVP, and the Giants proved they had arguably the best defense in football. I couldn't be more proud of the job the coaching staff did and what the players accomplished on that field, and I will always live with the memory of my team's amazing Super Bowl upset.

Image taken from Yahoo! Sports

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