With one month left in the NFL regular season the New York Giants find themselves in the drivers seat for the second year in a row. They have only one mark in the loss column, which causes many people to ask, “Who will the Giants play in the Super Bowl?” All over the country, fans of the G-Men are hoping to repeat what the Patriots did last year, no, not lose the big game, but go 18-1.
Besides the potential of an equal record, what else do the combatants of Super Bowl XLII have in common?
It is no secret that the Giants have shed a few KEY players over the past few years. They lost the best running back in their history to retirement, Tiki Barber. They lost one of the most skilled tight ends in the league to injury, Jeremy Shockey and replaced him with a rookie. And what was the result of their season? I’m not sure you remember, but it had something to do with a catch and a ring.
Does this situation sound familiar?
The New England Patriots are no stranger to playing without key players. In 2002 starter Drew Bledsoe went down and relinquished his position to Tom Brady. That did not stop them from beating “The Greatest Show on Turf,” the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Deion Branch was released after being named the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIX and Asante Samuel ended up on the Eagles after having a productive season in New England and asked to be paid for his work. What happened the next season? Again, you may not remember but it involved Mercury Morris and a little word called “undefeated.”
Even now, Matt Cassell is doing a great job of standing in for Golden Boy Tom Brady.
Following in the footsteps of the Pats, the Giants have eschewed the star receiver of their Super Bowl victory, and they even sent Shockey to New Orleans.
Those are not the only losses the blue team has suffered.
Michael Strahan now works for Fox, trading in his pads and helmet for a suit and tie. The Giants planned to have Osi Umenyiora step in to fill Strahan’s great shoes but he went down early in the season. New York, however, did not miss a beat. Justin Tuck stepped to the task. Amid mountains of scrutiny he almost made people forget about the two players that were above him on the depth chart last season.
Bill Belichik resurrected the team concept in this superstar driven game, but Tom Coughlin perfected it. Many pundits, myself included, threw the word “fluke” at the G-Men last year. But Coughlin, Eli Manning and the rest of the team are making all of us eat our words. It looks like the New York Giants are the new Patriots.