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Philadelphia Eagles 38 (10-4) – New York Giants 31 (9-5)

by The Hack for

Game Summary: At least once a year following a game, I have an email conversation with Eric that goes something like:

Me: “Hey Eric, I can’t believe that game.  What a letdown.  I can’t believe I have to review this.”

Eric: “Don’t bother reviewing it.  No one’s going to read it.”

Me: “No, I have to do a review.”

Eric: “Seriously…don’t bother.”

Monday was that day this year.  Like every member of BBI, I watch the games from an emotional standpoint and live and die with every play.  After letting the game settle for a day (or two if it was particularly poor), I rewatch from an emotionally detached point of view and concentrate on the mechanics of the game itself.  Because I’m a Giants fan and not a professional journalist, there are games that are very difficult to objectively review.  Keeping in mind that there is little objectivity within the membership of our little community (!), it’s even harder to review a debacle like the one that occurred this past Sunday.

At any rate, for the first time I’m going to heed Eric’s advice.  This game has been looked at from every angle imaginable and I’m certainly not going to add any new insight that changes anyone’s perspective.

What I can’t understand is how these epic meltdowns seem to happen to the Giants with regularity.  Sure, teams blow leads and sometimes lose close games that could’ve gone either way anyway.  Games like the 2003 September game against the Cowboys when after hitting the go ahead field goal with only 11 seconds left, K Matt Bryant kicked the ball off out of bounds, giving the Cowboys the ball at their 40 yard line with no time taken off the clock.  Every Giant fan on the planet knew that K Billy Cundiff would kick a game tying field goal (he did, a 52 yarder) and the Giants would eventually be saddled with a loss in overtime (they were when Cundiff hit his 7th field goal of the game).  We’re Giants fans.  Those games are a dime a dozen.  They hurt, no doubt, but anyone who’s watched this team from about 1965 on realizes that we’re going to have to live with those.

Things like what happened in the game Sunday, however, those are the very bitter pills to swallow.  The big, nasty, get stuck in and dissolve in your throat horse pills.  These are monumental failures that stick with you forever as a fan.  And you’re reminded of them often, either by friends, fans of other teams, or ESPN Sportscenter.  If you think back to the previous three losses that go into this category (Minnesota scoring 10 points with less than 2 minutes remaining in 1997, San Francisco erasing a 24 point deficit with less than 19 minutes remaining in 2003, and the Titans scoring 24 fourth quarter points to come back from a 21 points down and win in 2006), each time there had to be an absolute perfect storm of events to occur just as they did in order for the comebacks to be successful.

While there are no ties to the teams of the past, these meltdowns continue to happen.  Every time it begins, each of us has that familiar New York Giant sense of foreboding.  You have that moment when, deep in your soul, you say to yourself (and only to yourself), that this can’t be happening again.  Surely, they’ll respond and stop this rally.  While watching these events, you know exactly what has to happen to stop the wheels from falling off.  We preach through the TV to the players: just fall on the onsides kick, just pick up one more first down, just keep the ball on the ground and run clock, just make the tackle in bounds, just stop this 3rd and 18, just stop this 4th down attempt.  But it never happens.  Play after play is made by the opposition as if the Giants are powerless to stop them.

Can anyone think of another team that has so many games that have gone so horribly wrong that their fans actually refer to them by a nickname?  Cleveland has one, “The Fumble”.  I’m sure other teams have one or two as well.  But the Giants, they have a whole hat full.  “The Flipper Game”, “The Miracle at the Meadowlands”, “The Trey Junkin Game”, “The Emmitt Game”, “The Minnesota Game”, etc.  Heck the Giants have played the Vikings a hundred times but all you need to do is say “Remember the ‘Minnesota Game’?  That was unbelievable” and every Giants fan in earshot will know exactly what you’re talking about.

In speaking with Eric on Monday, I realized that it may be for this very reason that things like winning Super Bowl 42 are such an emotional high.  Seeing as we’ve had these depths of despair so many times over the past 4 decades, it makes the highs seem incredibly, impossibly lofty.

Let’s face it, despite these colossal let downs, the Giants have been to nearly 10% of all Super Bowls and won 3 of them.  They’ve won 4 NFC Championships.  By this measure, the Giants are more successful than the majority of NFL franchises.  After all, the Giants were able to pull out of the futility that has engulfed franchises like the Detroit Lions and Arizona/St Louis Cardinals for half a century.  They also don’t have to endure the stigma of not being able to finish off fantastic seasons like Philadelphia, Cleveland, and the Buffalo Bills.  As such, the complete misery that Giants fans have to go through following the baffling losses that the Giants endure such as the game this past Sunday can be tempered by the knowledge that somehow, someway, at some point, they’ll overcome and bring us another Championship.

Will the Giants ever build a ‘dynasty’?  It seems unlikely.  If history is a guide, the Giants will always be a fair to good team with excellent and poor seasons sprinkled in.  They’ll get their shot at a Championship every now and then, and they’ll be looking up from a 5-11 season every once in a while as well.

These are our New York Giants, BBI.  Now let’s hope they leave Lambeau Field having given us the same feeling they gave us on Sunday January 20, 2008.

Merry Christmas, enjoy any time off you may have upcoming and look for a more favorable review next week!

(Box Score – Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, December 19, 2010)
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