Enough with the prognosticating. Giants fans should simply enjoy a ride that might be the best one yet.
Everything about the 2011 Giants has been said and said again. And again.
Eli is full of crap, how dare he put his name next to Tom Brady’s! Except, actually, he might be Elite but not quite as good as Brady or Rodgers or Jesus – but wait, hold on a second, because Eli’s playing really good right now and is approaching Elite status, so now we’re seriously starting to wonder whether or not you can spell Elite without E-L-I.
Hold on. I’ve just received a call from my source, who is telling me that, yes, we’ve just now finally decided, ONCE AND FOR ALL, that ‘Elite’ cannot be spelled without its first three letters.
What have we learned from the 2011 Giants that we didn’t know before? That Antrel Rolle likes to talk? That Brandon Jacobs does too, sometimes derisively to fat people?
That Tom Coughlin’s reputation, for at least the third time in his Giants tenure, has bobbed and weaved before capsizing, like a poorly-piloted cruise ship? That not throwing millions of dollars at a possession receiver with a shakily-reconstructed knee was a shrewd, ballsy move? That eschewing a big commitment to an oft-injured tight end who had never caught more than 42 passes was similarly awesome?
We didn’t know about Victor Cruz. And now we do. So now, every sportswriter and blogger with a minimal vested interest in New York sports, go and write 4,000 words that have been written a thousand times before.
Save for my ill-fated prediction in December, I haven’t written a word about the Giants in three months. Strange, for a man who lists February 3, 2008 as one of the greatest nights of his life, a diehard whose house is lined with Giants regalia, a fan whose authentic #88 jersey hasn’t been washed in almost as long – god forbid it not be dry on game day.
Why not? Sure, I’d rather not waste my time writing old words. But, even more so, I’d rather just enjoy the ride.
That’s my message to Giants fans. Enjoy the ride. A ride that may – or frankly, may not—turn out to be the ride of your life.
Most of us have already dreamt of knocking off Brady and Belichick yet again, of silencing every doubter who calls our team’s 2007 greatness a fluke. Some have gone so far as to check airfare to Indianapolis, only to shudder at the cost. We’re already debating whether we should have the championship parade in Newark or Manhattan, which is a stupid debate not just because Newark sucks and Chris Christie is fat but because, to even reach that point, the Giants, with a record of 11-7, will need to triumph over two teams with a combined record of 29-5.
We’re getting ahead of ourselves.
But guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that. In 2007, we were behind the curve. Greatness hit us by surprise. We watched an unlikely band of misfits, future St. Louis Rams and spongebob-band-aid-wearing defensive backs fight their way to a world title. We rejoiced. We tasted greatness, but by the time we had apprehended what had happened, a bullet was in Plaxico’s leg and the parade screeched to a halt. So we wanted another taste. And it hasn’t come. Until now.
On the doorstep of similar achievement, the 2011 Giants are a different beast entirely. Their greatness comes not from their unlikeliness or from a Conference Championship game appearance or their newfound dominance on both sides of the ball.
If there’s greatness in these Giants, it’s derived from the potential of watching the perfect title run. In 2007, we experienced the purest form of an underdog story: 53-scrappy Davids unseating the undefeated behemoth thanks to a great play from a receiver who would never catch another ball as long as he lives.
This year? We’re still the underdog. We’re 9-7 going against 13-3 and hopefully 14-2. Yet we still believe – nay, we expect. In 2007, we didn’t believe. Those Giants didn’t look like they belonged on the same field as the Cowboys, or the Packers, or the Patrioits. And then suddenly, before we even knew what hit us, it happened. Greatness caught us by surprise. We won’t be caught napping again.
We’ve spent the last four years yearning for that greatness and have lamented and screamed and sulked every time it hasn’t come. Few honest Giants fans would tell you that they believed in that 2007 team. They’d tell you they were converted only when that ball glued itself to Tyree’s helmet, or maybe not even until Brady’s final pass eluded Randy Moss and fell to the turf.
Today? Find me a Giants fan who doesn’t believe that his team’s destined for Disney World. Good luck.
In 2012, we are excited because we feel it coming. That may be irrational, it may be arrogant, and it may even be self-defeating. But our readiness for greatness is no less real. These Giants haven’t scraped by four of the league’s supposed contenders, like their 2007 counterparts did; they’ve annihilated them.
We’ve watched Aaron Rodgers made to look only slightly better than Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan made to look like Mark Sanchez and Eli Manning made to look like Aaron Rodgers. Everything is coming together at just the right time and in just the right way, with enough build-up and emphasis to keep us on the edge of our seats, shivering in anticipation. It’s all come together to make us believe.
We’ve dismissed the massive challenge of the Niners’ nasty defense and now we're ready for the Patriots high-flying attack. When and if our team take the Super Bowl crown in 2012, we’ll be ready to celebrate.
Or to cry when Tom Brady passes for four hundred yards. Either way, it will be bigger and better this time.