The ghosts of the NY Giants 2006 season

Where to begin? I’ll start with the night everything changed for the Giants franchise. November 12, 2006.

The 2006 Giants, coming off a degrading January playoff home loss where they didn’t bother to suit up and play, had answered all of their big game questions so far. Nearly winning the wildy overhyped Manning bowl, a game for the ages against hated rival Philly, beating the potentially playoff caliber Falcons in Atlanta, the ready to implode Cowboys in Dallas on a Monday night that sent Drew Bledsoe to the bench and ushered in the first awkward moments of what would become Romomania, and then a few taking care of business victories over lesser opponents. The only unsightly blemish on the schedule until that cold November night was an ugly blowout loss in Seattle to the Seahawks, which was covered up by some garbage time points.

Heading into NBC’s Sunday Night Football showcase, the Giants were a cocky bunch, ready to welcome the Chicago Bears with utmost hostility.

The Giants had a team theme song, the “We Fly High” remix by rapper Jim Jones. NFC supremacy was on the line. The Giants built up a nice early lead, feeling good heading into halftime. Homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, a red carpet ride to the Super Bowl, lay before them.

giants-large.jpg3rd and 22… things happened. Bad things. No need to relive the gruesome details and deal with that trauma again right now, but in an effort to run out the clock, the Bears accidentally converted an improbable first down, leading to a late first half touchdown and deflating a bloodthirsty big blue crowd. The karmic pendulum swung forever when head coach Tom Coughlin decided that on a frigid, pneumonia inducing windy and wet November night, to send his placekicker out to attempt a 52 yard field goal. It was well short as expected, but the Bears had set up a kick return play as if it were a kickoff, and well… Devin Hester is now a household name to football fans, coming off maybe the greatest rookie season for a special teams player ever. The 108 yard return on the night of November 12 was Hester’s finest moment in a fine season. It turned the game around, and launched the Bears towards securing homefield for their trip to the Super Bowl. The New York Giants…

Again, I won’t rehash the details of the horrors of the second half collapse. They beat the Panthers in Carolina thanks to an injury to starting quarterback Jake Delhomme. Other than that, the New York Giants season was one harrowing ulcer inducing, soul reaping, infuriating, embarrassing, loss after another. There was dissension, injury, wars with the media, failure on both sides of the ball, mental errors, breakdowns, everything that could go wrong went wrong. And worse.

Still, thanks to the imbalance of power in the NFL, the Giants were able to sneak into the playoffs when Tiki Barber, a player with one and a half feet out the door on his way to his post-football career as a talking head, saved the greatest night of his pre-secondary career for what could have been its swan song. The Giants ended the year with a playoff loss in Philadelphia, but it was the slow death of the season, life oozing out from November on that fans will remember. Or choose to forget.

That is now where we stand as Giants fans. This blog is for us, to figure out what we want from the team, what they are doing right or wrong, react to the games and breaking news on the team, and just trying to survive the 2007 season. If you are a fan of another team, just checking in to talk trash, offer support, mock or praise, we welcome you.

This post was a look back to the past that shaped the present, which began with the Chicago game. A team that was Super Bowl bound, is now widely considered to be trapped in sports purgatory, not good enough to make the playoffs, not bad enough to blow up the team and rebuild. Brace yourselves for a bumpy ride Giants fans.