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 Deja Blue

It all looked so familiar.  The Giants were trailing the Patriots with the ball with just minutes remaining.  Eli Manning would have to lead an improbable drive down the field to get Big Blue a Vince Lombardi Trophy.  The underdog Giants would have to come from behind to defeat arguably the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL, Tom Brady.  The Giants would have to prove all the nay-sayers wrong once again.  Sunday night, Patriots fans had that feeling of deja blue.

Super Bowl MVP, Eli Manning would lead another magical drive down the field with the Giants trailing 17-15 and just 3:46 remaining.  The Giants scored a touchdown that was not as memorable as Plaxico Burress’s touchdown in Super Bowl 42, but one that left the same exact feeling in the stomach of Patriots fans.  Ahmad Bradshaw would run it into the endzone with 58 seconds on the clock to give the Giants the lead, 21-17.  The biggest play of the drive came on the very first play.  Pinned back at his own 12 yard line, Manning threw a gorgeous pass to Mario Manningham who made an incredible play to stay in bounds and make the catch at the 50 yard line to give the G-Men great field position.  The Patriots challenged the play and ended up losing a timeout that would have helped in their final drive in the last minute of the game.  The Manningham catch reminded many of the David Tyree catch in Super Bowl 42 off his helmet.  It was the big throw and catch that gave them life and kept the drive going.  The difference between this drive and the drive in Super Bowl 42 was that the Giants made it look much easier last night.  They did not have one third or fourth down on the drive.  The Patriots answer had no answer for Manning and the Giants offense.  Manning found Manningham and Nicks the entire drive wherever and whenever he wanted.  Eli was making passes in his brothers building that we would normally see his brother make.  His throws were as accurate as they could be finding every opening in the Patriots defense.  It was evident that the Pats defense was fatigued as the Giants were finding open receivers on every play.

The Patriots would get the ball back with 58 seconds left and a timeout at their own 20 needing a touchdown to win.  It would end up being too little too late for Bill Belichick’s team.  There would be another deja blue moment on the drive as Justin Tuck would send Brady down on a sack on 3rd and 10 that forced the Patriots to use their final timeout.  That had Giants fans thinking of the sack rookie Jay Alford put on Brady in Super Bowl 42 that would put the Pats away.  It all looked so familiar as the events unfolded.  It seemed to be destiny for the Giants who once again entered the playoffs at 9-7 and made a magical run to a Super Bowl Championship.

Tom Coughlin, the coach on the hot seat just weeks before the playoffs began will now be holding up another Vince Lombardi Trophy in the Canyon of Heroes in the greatest city in the world on Tuesday.  Eli Manning will be holding his second Super Bowl MVP trophy.  Millions of fans will be packed into the streets celebrating another Giants championship.  A team that looked to have the keys to be headed home in December will now be presented with the “Key to the City” Tuesday in what is set to be another memorable parade in New York.

 Staff Picks for Super Bowl XLVI

Here are the picks from some of our staff:

Mike Carver
Patriots 27 Giants 20
Belichick & Brady have had 4 years to think about Super Bowl XLII and will be razor sharp focused to pay the G-Men back.

Brandon Contes
Giants 27 Patriots 20
We’ll see more defense than people are expecting, take the under.

Rob Kowal
Giants 41 Patriots 17
Eli will dominate and the Giants front-four will ruin Tom Brady and the Patriots night.

Bill Donohue
Patriots 31 Giants 27
This is like watching a Phillies-Yankees World Series for me…torturous.

Derek Wasiak
Giants 34 Patriots 31 OT
The Giants will become the 1st 9-7 team (400 points allowed, 32nd ranked rushing offense) to win the Super Bowl. Why? They are healthy!

Greg Locke
Giants 27 Patriots 24
See-saw battle ending with a Tynes FG in the waning seconds. Manning MVP.

Adam Kern
Giants 27, Patriots 24
The G-Men’s defense is healthy and clicking, and Eli will lead the way in a tough-fought battle to claim another Super Bowl.

Cody Normand
Patriots 24 Giants 21
The game will come down to a last second Steven Gostkowski field goal to win the game for the Pats.

Ty Hardamon
Giants 31 Patriots 24
G-men will get it done!

Jake Brown
Giants 23 Patriots 20
Game winning field goal by Tynes will win it; Eli gets MVP.

Joe Gucciardo
Giants 27 Patriots 17
The Giants offense is much more explosive than it was four years ago, and Patriots are not even close to the their 18-1 team that same season.

Should be great game! Be sure to tune in to SPORTSTALK1240 after the game (airing from 9:00pm to 11:00pm this and every Sunday night!), and call us with your thoughts on the outcome. Remember, you can listen live online while watching WGBB’s studio webcam by simply linking to http://webcam.sportsradiony.com!

 01/29/2012 – SPORTSTALK1240

Hosted by Mike Carver, along with Paul Revelant. Much of the talk on the show focused on the upcoming Super Bowl between the Giants and Patriots. The guys also spoke about how Jets head coach Rex Ryan must feel and Peyton Manning’s status this off-season. The Knicks were touched on a bit before the hosts gave their predictions for the Super Bowl to close out the show.

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 The Book of Eli- The Ultimate Road Warrior
  Rematch isn't the word, Eli awaits his Legacy

Eli Manning in Shotgun Formation; Photo by Rajiv Patel

Finally we have a Manning playing in Lucas Oil Stadium.  Strangely, this Manning wears #10, not #18. Eli Manning has earned the right to play in Super Bowl XLIV, almost killing the discussion that he is the second Manning on the depth chart.

The late Giant run has been inspiring and exciting. Coach Tom Coughlin officially removed the Bunsen burner from his chair, and used it to illuminate his path to Canton, Ohio.

Victor Cruz has been nothing short from amazing. Simple as that! Undrafted, pulled up from the practice squad, only to allow the salsa dancing wide out to finish both third in receiving yards (1,536) and yards per reception this season (18.7).

Manning has showed that he no longer casts in the shadows of his older brother. Heck, he has done things nobody has, let alone is brother, since 1966. Manning has three straight games with 275 pass yards and multiple touchdowns in a single postseason.

This past Sunday, Manning set a record for road playoff wins by a quarterback. Manning stands at five, while bunkmate Mark Sanchez has four … who would have thought that huh?

“I knew there was a shot. We have talent on this team; we have guys who are committed to being good. It’s just a matter of, ‘Can we put it all together? Can we play our best football at the right time? And that’s just what’s happened,” Manning said Monday in an interview on ESPN New York 1050’s “The Michael Kay Show.”

The Giants are loaded with talent. They have three quality defensive ends, usually only two on the field at a time, but Justin Tuck has earned sacks as a defensive tackle. Wide out Hakeem Nicks has the hand size of Andre The Giant, which means he could catch a football with WD40 on his hands.

The Giants will win on February 5th. In the back of the mind of Manning holds the whispers from the epic 07 season. Critics uttered that it was luck for the Giants to stand with the Lombardi trophy. The respect was not given and I’m sure Manning remembers that. Pretty soon he will have defeated arguably the two best quarterbacks of the last decade, brother Peyton Manning and opponent Tom Brady on the same day on the road. What will people say then? He is the Ultimate Road Warrior?

 Feels Like ‘08 All Over Again
  Big Blue One Win Away from Super Bowl

No team is riding high like the New York football Giants are right now.  This team has all the confidence and motivation in the world.  They beat the Jets to stay alive in the playoff race.  They beat the Cowboys to win the NFC East and host a playoff home game.  They crushed the Falcons in the playoffs with their defense not giving up a point.  If that was not enough, they went into the frozen tundra in Green Bay Sunday and defeated the 15-1 Packers, who had one of the best regular seasons in the history of the NFL.

The Gmen are playing the best defense we have seen them play all year and they are doing it at the perfect time.  The offense is playing tremendous as Eli Manning continues to show the world that he is indeed an elite NFL quarterback.  Manning went out and beat Aaron Rodgers, the Super Bowl MVP and arguably the best quarterback this season.  Many thought it would be a close game, but the Giants had a dominant performance never trailing.  They went into the half with a 20-10 lead thanks to an unbelievable last second hail mary to the endzone from Manning to Hakeem Nicks for 37 yards.  The play helped send the Giants to the locker room with all the motivation they needed to get to San Francisco. They pulled away in the fourth quarter scoring two touchdowns and putting the game out of reach for the defending Super Bowl Champion Packers.

The Giants will now travel to San Francisco in the NFC Championship to play a 49ers team that has been surprising everyone with their defense, which has been one of the best in the league.  Alex Smith made a name for himself in the victory over the Saints leading not one, but two fourth quarter drives for touchdowns that helped the 49ers top Drew Brees and the Saints.  Coming into the year, all the talk was how Alex Smith has been a major bust and would never be a good quarterback.  All that talk has been put aside as Smith had a solid season and an unbelievable playoff performance.  The Giants lost earlier in the season at San Francisco in a very close game, 27-20 and looks for revenge Sunday night.  The last time the Giants played the 49ers in the playoffs, it was a game that all Giants fans want to forget.  The Giants blew a 38-14 lead in that game in the playoffs in 2003 and lost 39-38. It was one of the biggest collapses in football history.

This run that the Giants are on right now brings back the memories of the 2007-2008 Giants team.  Big Blue came into the playoffs with all the momentum they needed and went out and beat the Buccaneers, Cowboys, and Packers all on the road to get to the Super Bowl.  Giants fans are feeling nostalgic as one cannot help but look back at that team and their magical run ending with a Super Bowl win over the previously undefeated New England Patriots.  There is a chance we might just see Brady face off against Manning again come February.  If the Giants can contain Frank Gore and the 49ers rushing attack and play the defense we have seen in this playoff run so far, Tom Coughlin and the Giants might just be headed to Indianapolis to fight for another Vince Lombardi Trophy.

 Bran-DONE Jacobs

Photo by Alexa Scordato

Brandon Jacobs might as well be Bran-done Jacobs. The Giants running back has put his mouth to more use than his legs this season. Instead of picking a fight with opposing teams and their linebackers he’s ripped Giants fans for booing.

Last time I checked he played football, arguably the toughest professional sport, and he’s crying over fans booing him? New York fans tell it like it is, they cheer when you perform and boo when you don’t. If Jacobs returns to the force that was a back-to-back 1,000-yard runner fans will cheer him instead.

Granted, the Giants lost veterans Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert before the season started, but both were old and declining. Injuries have also hurt the Giant as center David Baas has been in and out of the lineup, now William Beatty may miss the rest of the year, and Kareem McKenzie’s knees aren’t getting any younger.

Yet, Ahmad Bradshaw still found ways to be productive out of the backfield before his injury by using his speed and cut back ability to gain yards. Bradshaw also is useful for screen plays, unlike Jacobs who couldn’t catch a pass if he had Super Glue on his gloves.

It’s time for Jacobs to return to the brute force that no linebacker, much less a cornerback, wanted to see rumbling for yards. Even though Eli Manning has put “man” in Manning, he needs a running game to keep the defense honest and hit his homerun threats Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Mario Manningham off play-action passes.

Jacobs complained about a lack of carries to start the year. Now there are no more excuses, including booing from fans. On ESPN and Monday Night Football the spotlight is on and Jacobs must be the x-factor that carries New York on his 260 pound back to a win. If Jacobs has another “pathetic” effort as Tom Coughlin called it, it’s time to refer to him as Bran-done Jacobs.

Follow me on Twitter: @MikeAScotto

 Who Are the 2011-12 New York Giants?

The first pre-season game for Big Blue is tonight against Carolina which means football season has officially begun in New York…. Or at least its beginning for the New York Giants.

Football has been back for a while now in New York but it has been the Jets who have made most of the pre-season headlines.  That is just what Rex Ryan wants. But Giant fans don’t really care what Rex Ryan wants.

It would be foolish and pointless to break down every single player and position at this point because it is too early to tell anything and with the lockout, more injuries could be expected this year.

So I’m going to keep things really general about the Giants and I will take you through the whirlwind of emotions you should expect to feel this year. Feel free to refer to this post as much as you want throughout the year so that way you don’t need to get angrier than expected.

Let us start with the record. The Giants will go 8-8. I say that as if I am some sort of “future-predicting wizard” but it is in fact just a predcition.

It is also important we keep in mind common trends with the Giants and that we expect the same trends to continue. It feels like year after year, the Giants get off to a hot start, have a bye, and then “collapse” at the end of the season.

This could quite possibly happen yet again this year. But keep in mind it will not be a “collapse” at the end of the year but more of a “fluke” at the beginning of the year. The reality though, is the schedule gets harder at the end of the year, so it will seem like a collapse. But many Giants fans aren’t going into the year with a lot of confidence because the team is not that good. So wins in the beginning of the season might seem like a “pleasant surprise” but all it is, is an easy schedule.

Lets take a look along with my prediction of the outcome:

@WAS – Win

STL – Win

@PHI – Loss

@ARI – Win

SEA – Win

BUF – Win


MIA- Win

@NE – Loss

@SF – Win

PHI – Loss

@NO – Loss

GB – Loss

@DAL – Loss

WAS – Win

@NYJ – Loss

Dallas – Loss

So as you can see you will begin the season ecstatic trying to prove to your best friend who is a Jet fan that he was wrong and to football fans everywhere that they were wrong because the Giants are 6-2. But you shouldn’t do that because that 4 game losing streak in the second half of the season will have you calling in sick from work and trying to avoid everyone you know at the end of the year. So just enjoy the 6-2 start quietly.

At the end of the year you will also be calling for Tom Coughlin’s job again because the Giants “collapsed” and didn’t come through at the end of the year. But as I do every year, I will defend Tom Coughlin because he is one of the most intelligent coaches in football and it is hard to imagine anyone to replace him. Tom Coughlin was the coach when the Giants beat Bill Belichick and the undefeated Patriots in the Super Bowl. Sure it took some luck such as a career special teamer catching a ball on his helmet, but credit goes out to the coach too. I don’t care what teams do what this year. Tom Coughlin regardless of the Giants success is one of the best coaches in the NFL.

And last but not least, you may experience some excitement throughout the year. Some young guys may surprise you. Victor Cruz, a Umass alum, is getting a lot of attention from people for some reason. I think he is talented and we’ll see how much playing time he gets. With Nicks, Manningham and Hixon in the mix, I don’t understand how Victor Cruz can get a lot of opportunities. But he will get opportunities I am sure and you may like what you see from him. So you can look forward to the future.

Kenny Ingram is a young linebacker who has stood out at times in training camp so maybe you will like what you see out of him too. I’m not sure how much playing time Mark Herzlich will see, but that man was an unstoppable force in college before his cancer scare. If he can get back to that, and show it at the NFL level, that will excite fans too.

That excitement will mix with frustration though. Eli Manning will throw interceptions, and Jacobs and Bradshaw will fumble the football. So when these happen, don’t punch any holes in any walls. Just remember that I told you so.

So just to sum everything up:

The Giants will get off to a hot start due to a favorable schedule, but you need to celebrate quietly because the tough second half will send you into a depressed and angered state. Don’t blame Tom Coughlin because it isn’t his fault. Don’t be angry at Jerry Reese either. I don’t know why it has been a quiet off-season but nobody drafts like Jerry Reese does. He seems to know what he’s doing. Expect a down year, expect more signings/trades next year, and expect the young guys you get excited about this year to really step it up next year. You should also expect turnovers and possibly some more penalties with a revamped offensive line.

If for some reason the Giants finish with under 8 wins (and key players are NOT injured) I will consider re-thinking my opinion on Coughlin. But chances are it is the multiple interceptions, fumbles, and awful linebacking corp that will hurt the Giants and result in under 8 wins. Tom Coughlin has no control over any of those things. Hopefully the Giants can split with the Eagles and/or Cowboys and maybe pull out a win against the Jets and get themselves between 9 and 11 wins which would be a nice surprise.

Just remember:

In Week 9 –> :-D

In Week 17 –> :x

Expect it.

 NY Giants: Where to Go From Here

It is only now that the game against the Eagles really upsets me. That sure was a tough loss at home. But knowing that there was still a win, and in scenario at Green Bay made the collapse not matter as much.

But here we are on the night of January 2, 2011 and the Giants have missed the playoffs. They had that game against the Eagles and it was at home no less. The incentive to go all out in Green Bay was there. All they had to do was win, and the game against the Redskins would mean nothing.

But it all came down to week 17. The Giants needed to win AND needed some help.

The first order of business is to thank the Bears. The Chicago Bears had the number two seed and a first round bye no matter what happened today in Green Bay. But how could the Bears let a division rival just walk into the playoffs? How can you let that happen? Lovie Smith and his crew decided to start the regulars and play them the entire game. And although I had the Giants game on my TV, I had the Bears on my computer. The Bears went all out. They played as though they were as desperate as the Giants. The defense was incredible. Unfortunately (for Giants fans) the Packers prevailed, and the Giants are here with you and me, on their couches.

So where should the Giants go from here? Well, before we start kicking Coughlin out of town, lets look at a few other components to the Giants season.

The biggest one? Turnovers. When you look at turnovers, attention turns to quarterback Eli Manning who led the league in the category this season. He threw 25. But remember early on in the season the story of those interceptions? Tipped passes by the receivers. People seem to forget about that. Now everyone all of a sudden is just looking at the numbers. But the amount of interceptions that should have been caught by receivers is probably pretty high even though I don’t have an exact number. And the interception today against the Redskins, again, should have been caught by Manningham. It went right off his hands.

Fumbles are the most mind boggling thing to me and here’s why. Remember another Giants running back who had a fumble problem named Tiki Barber? And do you remember a coach who came in, and told Barber to hold the ball a different way which in turn fixed his fumble problem? Do you remember that coaches name? His name is Tom Coughlin. I don’t understand why Coughlin did not have ALL his players this year, hold the ball the “Barber way.” He fixed fumble problems in the past, why can’t he do it again? But don’t take this as a knock on Coughlin. In general, I don’t feel like turnovers are a coach’s fault. What is he supposed to do? Players need to hold on to the football. The head coach of the team for the most part is not relevant to that situation. There is not much he can do.

Another problem for the Giants was their injuries. The offensive line was being shuffled around all year. Steve Smith got hurt. Hakeem Nicks was hurt. If you want to blame a coach, blame a strength and conditioning coach. Again, not the head coach’s fault. Corey Webster was also out for the contest against the Redskins.

But the ultimate question is this. Should Tom Coughlin be fired? My answer is no. Yes, I am aware the Giants have missed the playoffs two years in a row. Yes I am aware the Giants seem to struggle later in the season. I don’t know why that happens. But if anything, it’s fatigue. Does it look like the Giants don’t WANT to play under Coughlin? It doesn’t look that way to me. And if fatigue is the issue, I again look at the conditioning coaches.

How many games have you watched this year and afterwards felt, “wow, that was a poorly coached football game.” I certainly didn’t feel that way very often. Did you ever feel like the Giants were “outcoached?” I didn’t see it.

Tom Coughlin is the same coach who coached a Super Bowl winning Giants team past an undefeated Patriots team in one of the best Super Bowls ever. Nothing has changed.

I am not a believer in firing coaches just for the sake of firing coaches. The Giants defense was one of the best in the league this year leading the charge in many key categories. Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell deserves a lot of the credit for sure, but Coughlin needs to be included in the accolades in my opinion.

Tom Coughlin is very knowledgeable about the game, about his opponents, and I think does a great job in preparing the team for upcoming games and getting them in the right mindset.

It is also important to keep in mind that if we look at January 2 only and ignore everything else, the reason the NY Giants are not in the playoffs right now is because the Packers won. The Giants for essentially the third week in a row played in a must-win game and did they get the win? They sure did. Unfortunately the win was not enough. Had the Giants lost today, that is another story. But out of all the “must-win” games, today was the MOST “must-win” if that makes sense. When they lost against the Eagles their hopes were still alive. When they lost against the Packers their hopes were still alive. Today if they lost, there was no hope. But in today’s must-win game, they won. The Giants couldn’t control what happened over in Green Bay. And yes the game was maybe closer than it should have been but a win is a win. And the Giants went without Shaun O’Hara, Rich Seubert got hurt early, and they were also without Corey Webster, Hakeem Nicks, and Steve Smith. Despite all that, they still won.

One coach I never liked was offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. I think he is awful at running the offense. And how many times a season does Eli Manning need to call timeout because the play clock is winding down. It definitely happens to the Giants more than any other team. Many times that falls on the offensive coordinator not getting plays in on time. But on top of that, Gilbride’s play-calling is usually questionable and predictable. Admittedly, this year I think it was better than it was in the past. But if Gilbride was gone I would have no issue with that.

Perry Fewell should stay. His style is similar to that of Steve Spagnuolo and I like him a lot. And as I stated above, the Giants defense was superb this year.

I believe Coughlin should stay as well. I think he knows what he is doing and I don’t blame the season on him at all. Injuries and turnovers proved costly and I don’t know how much those things really fall on the head coach. Penalties were not a big problem with the Giants this year like they have been in the past. Coaching has a lot to do with that so you can credit Coughlin there.

If you want to look at getting rid of coaches, look at conditioning and look at offensive play-calling. There is no reason to fire Tom Coughlin just for the sake of firing someone. Yes, it is very frustrating to collapse in games, collapse in seasons, and miss the playoffs. Nobody likes when that happens. But you need to realistically look at the reasons why that happens and not just start calling out the head coach.

Coughlin is also one of the best, if not the best with challenges. He knows when to challenge and when not to challenge. He is very astute and in tune with the NFL rulebook. He is a very intelligent coach. I have always liked the guy.

I just would need a very legitimate list of reason as to why Coughlin should be fired. Just saying “he missed the playoffs two years in a row” is not enough. The players are playing the games. Not Coughlin.

The Giants need to stay healthy and bring in solid personnel through free agency, trades, and the draft. If Bill Cowher or anyone else were coaching this year’s Giants I just don’t see how the results would be any different.

Which games were the Giants out-coached? Which decisions by Coughlin this season sent you into a big angry rage that made you tear your hair out? It just didn’t happen. Lay off of Coughlin.

And lay off of Eli too. As I said, a lot of the interceptions weren’t his fault. And doesn’t 31 touchdown passes and a Super Bowl ring mean anything?

The current Giants roster when healthy along with the current Giants coaching staff (including Gilbride) can absolutely win a Super Bowl in my opinion. I will defend that to the death. Unfortunately there were outside issues that prevented it from happening, injuries being a big key in that.

The one major difference between this team and the Super Bowl team from a few years ago is Michael Strahan. Other than that, the personnel is pretty much the same. And even if the players aren’t there, the skill level has not decreased of those who are there now.

If Coughlin gets fired, I won’t be surprised. But if you think Coughlin’s termination is the answer to the Giants problems, you are 100% wrong.




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