Big Blue fights its way to the top
The Giants have been playing in the NFL for 83 years (since 1925), and have won a great many games during that time. But among all the wins and losses, many dedicated Giants fans would say that the 2007 season has been one of the most successful, rewarding and memorable in the team's long history.
In the first few weeks of the 2007 season, no one would have ever imagined the team would go on to the Super Bowl. The Giants lost their first two regular season games, a bad omen for any aspiring team.
They failed to win their first game of the season to the Dallas Cowboys, losing by ten points for a final score of 45 to 35. Then, in week two, the Giants were crushed by the Green Bay Packers, losing 35 to 13.
No one was watching, however, as everyone's eyes were glued on the New England spy scandal that emerged during the Patriots and Jets game in week one. Fines were levied, video tape evidence was apparently shredded and the Patriots somehow avoided having to forfeit the game for their alleged misconduct.
Many in the public arena questioned how long the alleged spying had gone on, and wondered if it had been used by the Patriots in the past to garner previous Super Bowl victories, but nothing came of the questioning.
In the mean time, the struggling Giants caught a change of wind, and charged ahead to defeat the Washington Redskins, 24 to 17. Many analysts believe this win saved the Giants season, as the team went on to win their next seven games.
But their luck didn't last forever. In week 10, the Giants suffered a heartbreaking loss to the NFC East division leader, Dallas Cowboys, losing 20 to 31. Two weeks later, the Giants would suffer another major loss to the Minnesota Vikings with a final score of 41 to 17.
By the end of week 16, the Giants had a marginally successful record of 10 wins and 5 losses. Many analysts were attributing the losses to Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, criticizing his inconsistent performance on the field.
In the final week of the regular season, the Giants faced the undefeated New England Patriots. Many critics predicted an easy win for the Patriots. But the Giants proved to be a harder team to beat than most had expected.
After a high scoring struggle, the Giants fell to the Patriots, by a mere 3 points. But the game removed virtually any doubt the Giants couldn't compete.
In fact, the Giants loss to the Patriots was unprecedented in many ways:
The Giants scored more points (35) against the Patriots than any other team had done in the entire 2007 regular season.
The Giants led the Patriots for 42 minutes and 56 seconds, the longest of any team in 2007.
RB Ahmad Bradshaw and CB Kevin Dockery were injured and did not play for the Giants during that game. Had they been healthy, the outcome of the game may have been different.
Eli Manning threw four touchdown passes, the most by any quarterback opposing the Patriots this season.
New England averaged just 1.7 yards on 26 rushing attempts.
The Giants had a 74-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
After the regular season ended, most pundits thought the Giants, who'd scraped their way into the playoffs via a wild card berth, would be quickly eliminated from the competition. But that's certainly not what happened.
The Giants first triumphed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, giving quarterback Eli Manning his first playoff win. But it didn't stop there. The Giants went on to face fierce competition, defeating the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers to become the National Football Conference champions and competitor in Super Bowl XLII.
Looking back at the regular season and playoffs, it is worth noting that:
The Giants have won ten straight road games, and interestingly, are visitors in Super Bowl XLII (42).
The Giants had rushes gaining at least 4 yards - an NFL-best 46.9% of the time.
The Giants had the most sacks in the NFL during the regular season (53, in particular) and have added four more in the playoffs.
Eli Manning has thrown four touchdown and no interceptions during the current post season.
In their last four games, the Giants are giving up a mere 3.1 yards per rush.
In the last four games, Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer have combined for 39 receptions, 518 yards and five touchdowns.
Total Points Scored
So far, the Giants are the top scoring team in the post-season with an earned 68 points.
The Patriots, in comparison, have less than half the points of the Giants with 31 and are the sixth highest scoring team in the post season.
The Giants are tied with the Green Bay Packers for the most post season touchdowns in the National Football Conference (NFC).
The Giants placed 4th in the NFL for rushing during the regular season.
Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer have nearly 400 combined reception yards during the post season.
Just as significant as the offense, the Giants have a few of the best defensive players in the league. Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora have slammed more than one quarterback to the ground.
While championing the NFC is certainly significant, it is even more significant for Eli Manning, who has always been shadowed by his older brother, Peyton Manning, the quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts. Making the trip to the Super Bowl gives Eli some credibility as a pro quarterback and has gives him the opportunity to prove himself.
Interestingly, this will be the 12th time that the Super Bowl will be a rematch of a regular season game. The good news for the New York Giants is that the team that lost the regular season game is 6-5 in the Super Bowl rematch.
Contrary to what the sports pundits say, the New York Giants really do have a very good chance at winning the highly anticipated Super Bowl XLII.
We'll just have to wait until Super Bowl Sunday to see who the victor is.