About 14 years or so ago, God approached the world’s biggest Yankee and Giants fan with a proposition. In return for the Yankees becoming the first team in MLB history to blow a 3-0 lead and lose a playoff series in seven games (to the Red Sox no less), God would grant the Giants not one, but two, comeback Super Bowl victories against the Patriots. And to sweeten the pot, one of those Super Bowl wins would knock out an undefeated New England team.
It was an offer no fan could refuse.
Now, as we approach Super Bow LII, the picture is about as bleak as can be for New York fans. Oh woe, it’s come down to this. For a Giants fan, Eagles-Patriots is about as bad a Super Bowl matchup as you could possibly get. Only thing worse would be Cowboys-Patriots.
There are so many reasons to dislike both these teams. It would be a LII (lie) to say I wanted the Eagles or the Patriots to win Super Bowl LII. But come Sunday, one of those teams will emerge triumphant.
Reasons to hate the Eagles
1. They’re an NFC East rival, and play the Giants twice each year.
2. The Eagles have handed the Giants numerous bitter losses over the year, most notably the Chuck Bednarik game in 1960, the Herman Edwards game in 1978, and the LeSean Jackson game in 2010. Those losses and others still cut deep.
3. Philadelphia fans booed Santa Claus.
4. Those some Philadelphia fans cut the brake lining in my nephew’s van during a Giants game at Lincoln Financial Field several years ago. Seriously. Fortunately noboby was injured when the van crashed into a cyclone fence.
5. Philly can’t hold a candle to New York. First prize, a week’s vacation in Philadelphia. Second prize, two weeks vacation in Philly. Get it.
Reasons to hate the Patriots
1. They always win.
2. Most of their fans also root for the Boston Red Sox.
3. They cheat. Too many controversies, ie Spygate and Deflategate, make it appear more than simple coincidence.
4. The refs are on their side. I mean how many calls go New England’s way? There oughta be an investigation.
5. Boston can’t hold a candle to New York. The Big Apple vs. Beantown. Yeah right.
There’s only one saving grace in Super Bowl LII, and it leans towards the Pats. If the Patriots win, at least the Giants can claim the only Super Bowl victories against New England in the Brady-Belichick era. New England under B&B is presently 0-2 against the Giants in the Super Bowl, and 5-0 against the rest of the league.
Go Pats I guess. Good luck New England. Not really.
Maybe, just maybe, the Minny Miracle has reversed the longstanding playoff curse that has bedeviled the Minnesota Vikings.
It’s hard to find a more improbable ending to a football game than the play that gave the star-crossed Vikings a 29-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints and a ticket to the NFC Championship game.
More improbable than the Immaculate Reception of 1972 or the Music City Miracle of 2000? The craziest ending to a playoff game in NFL history? Yeah, why not?
Visions of Super Bowls danced in the heads of Viking fans when Stefon Diggs leaped for Case Keenum’s desperation pass, somehow eluded two defenders and raced down the sidelines to complete an unbelievable 61-yard touchdown pass.
The Vikings, founded in 1961, have played in four Super Bowls – and lost all four, the last to the Oakland Raiders 41 years ago. Minnesota shares the title of biggest Super Bowl loser with the Buffalo Bills, also 0-4.
However, the Vikes have come close many other times, only to suffer playoff disappointments. Here are the top five Minny heartbreakers.
2015 – Kicker Blair Walsh hooks a last-minute, chip shot field goal as the Seattle Seahawks hang on to defeat the Vikings 10-9 in a divisional round stunner.
2010 – Three fumbles, two by Adrian Peterson, and a Brett Favre interception that led to overtime were crucial in this loss. The Saints went on to win 31-28.
2001 – The Vikings appeared primed for their first Super Bowl appearance in a quarter century. But they ran into a New York Giants buzz saw and suffered a 41-0 loss, the worst setback in NFC Championship game history.
1999 – Gary Anderson, perfect in the regular season, missed a 37-yard field goal that would have given the Vikings an insurmountable lead late in the NFC Championship game. The Atlanta Falcons scored the game-tying touchdown in the final minutes. Minnesota, 15-1 in the regular season, lost the coin flip in overtime and never got the ball back as Morton Anderson’s 38-yard field goal won it for the Falcons.
1975 – In the play that birthed the term “Hail Mary,” Roger Staubach connected with Drew Pearson on a 50-yard touchdown in the waning seconds and the Dallas Cowboys squashed Viking Super Bowl dreams with a 17-14 victory at the old Metropolitan Stadium.
Minny Miracle Call: http://awfulannouncing.com/nfl/vikings-radio-minneapolis-miracle.html
Here are 10 reasons why Elisha Nelson Manning IV is a Hall of Fame quarterback.
ALL-TIME PASSING LEADERS
1. Eli ranks eighth all time in touchdown passes with 334.
2. He stands seventh all-time with 50,625 passing yards
3. Eli is sixth all-time in pass completions with 4319.
4. Manning is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He joins a short list of Bart Starr, Terry Bradshaw, Joe Montana and Tom Brady, all of whom won multiple MVP. Manning led the Giants to two Super Bowl wins over the New England Patriots, including a stunning upset of Brady and the unbeaten Pats in 2007. .
5. Eli started 210 straight games, second in NFL history and two behind his brother Peyton. Only Brett Favre with 297 made more consecutive starts than Eli. Since Eli started his first game in 2004, every other NFL team has started at least three QBs. The Cleveland Browns have started 24 in the same time span.
Manning’s streak, of course, was snapped last week when coach Ben McAdoo made the highly questionable decision to start journeyman Geno Smith. It cost McAdoo his job.
GIANT AMONG MEN
6. A four-time Pro Bowler, Manning holds virtually every Giants passing record, including TD passes, passing yards and completions as documented above.
THE CLUTCH GENE
7. Eli has engineered 30 fourth quarter comebacks, tied for seventh all-time with Drew Brees, Favre, Ben Roethlisberger and Fran Tarkenton.
8. He’s tied for third all-time with four fourth quarter playoff comebacks with Roethlisberger, Bradshaw, John Elway and Russell Wilson.
9. Manning holds the NFL single season record for most TD passes in the fourth quarter with 15.
10. Leadership, durability, character, class. Elis has it all. Earlier this year Manning was named co-winner of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, one of the league’s most prestigious honors. The coveted award honors NFL players for excellence on and off the field.
Please allow me to introduce myself as a lifelong Giants fan. I saw my first game at Yankee Stadium in November of 1963, five days before President Kennedy’s assassination. And I’ve been rooting for the Giants ever since, in good times and bad.
I rejoiced in the four Super Bowl championships, each of which has a special meaning for me. I witnessed the on-field exploits of so many great Giants, from Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford and Sam Huff to Lawrence Taylor, Phil Simms, Michael Strahan and so many others.
And I survived the bad times, including the “Goodbye Ali” days, the fumble and those long playoff droughts. Good and bad, I’ve been there every Sunday for more than 50 years.
All of which brings me to the benching of Eli Manning. To say this was handled poorly is a gross understatement. The release of Simms a quarter century ago pales in comparison.
Given, the Giants need to look at the other quarterbacks on the roster to plan for the future.
But there’s got to be a better way to inform a franchise icon and the best QB in Giants history that he’s heading to the bench. It makes it sound like Eli is the reason the team is 2-9 – not the porous offensive line, the lack of talent at wide receiver and the lackluster running game. Heck, not even Tom Brady could succeed with this bunch. Eli Manning is the least of your problems.
The optics are terrible. Even though his eyes were watering and his lips quivering, Eli took the news with class. Ben McAdoo, on the other hand, failed to understand the magnitude of this decision, and his demeanor while making the announcement was detached and unemotional.
Let’s place the blame squarely where it belongs. Besides being a terrible communicator, McAdoo can’t coach or put together a game plan. And Jerry Reese can’t evaluate talent, based on most of his recent draft picks, or build a winning team.
As an organization, the Giants blew this one big time. And the fan base, media and football world seem to be in near universal agreement that this could have been handled differently.
I’m sure the message will ring loud and clear during the final three games with boos, plenty of empty seats and lots of Cowboys, Eagles and Redskins fans in the stands.
Mr. Mara, it’s time to clean house. Ben & Jerry must go. There’s no other way.
Loyal Giants fan, SportsLifer blogger and Iona Prep Class of ‘69 grad
And so it all comes down to this. The New York Giants have decided to bench their franchise quarterback, Eli Manning, for Geno Smith.
Yes, that’s right, coach Ben McAdoo, in a desperate attempt to save his job, is benching Eli, a two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer who has started 210 straight games, second most in NFL history. This despite the fact that general manager Jerry Reese has given Eli virtually nothing to work with – unless you consider a porous O-line, virtually no running game, and a receiver corps besieged by injury as offensive weapons.
There’s something to be said for continuity in showing up to work every Sunday. Since Manning started his first game in 2004, the Cleveland Browns have had 24 starting quarterbacks.
Eli Manning has always been a class act, the ultimate teammate, who refuses to throw players and coaches under the bus, no matter how dire the circumstances.
Manning even handled the demotion with class. Although clearly shaken, his lips quivering and his eyes wet, Eli said: “I don’t like it, but it’s part of football. You handle it and I’ll do my job.”
Benching a franchise icon
So now the best quarterback in the long and storied history of the New York Football Giants, an iconic player, a guy who holds nearly every Giants passing record, has been benched by a guy who can’t coach and a GM who can’t draft talent.
In their misguided wisdom, the Giants brain trust has decided that Geno Smith gives them the best chance to win Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. Geno Smith – are you kidding me? “We’re confident that we can put a plan together to put Geno in a position to be successful and go win a game,” said McAdoo.
Good luck with that decision. Geno Smith is not the future, he’s a stop-gap measure who couldn’t make it with the Jets. Heck, at this point in the lost season it makes much more sense to go with Davis Webb, the 22-year-old rookie and third round draft pick.
The Giants have mishandled QB transitions before. They released Phil Simms after the 1993 season despite the team reaching the playoffs and winning a wild card game.
Former Giants outraged
Many former Giants have expressed outrage against the Eli benching via Twitter, including Simms, Carl Banks, Justin Tuck Plaxico Burress and David Diehl, just to name a few.
“I don’t think Eli ever envisioned, until now, playing for somebody else,” said Eli’s father and former NFL QB Archie. “That’s the love he has for the Giants. It is kind of unique and stronger than most. It’s not just the game he loves to play. He loves to play for the Giants.”
Although Eli may very well have played his last game as a Giant, there are several teams out there who would value the services of a soon-to-be 37-year-old quarterback with a penchant for winning the big game. Jacksonville, with former Giants coach Tom Coughlin now the GM, would be a good fit. How about Denver, where Eli could ride to the rescue and win a Super Bowl much like brother Peyton did several years ago. Buffalo, Miami and Arizona are all possibilities.
Payback is a bitch or so they say, and McAdoo and Reese will get theirs soon enough. Front office and coaching incompetence has earned the Giants a top five draft pick in the 2018 draft, and perhaps hope with a quarterback of the future.
Too bad Ben & Jerry won’t be around for the rebuild.
Mike Francesa of WFAN blasts the Giants decision.
Before the 2017 season, the New York Football Giants were being touted as the team to beat in the NFC East. Some of the experts went a step further, writing Big Blue a ticket to the Super Bowl. Yet last than halfway through the year, it’s all come tumbling down.
Forget about contending for a title. These Giants are an embarrassment, bottoming out with new lows in team history. Both head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese will take a fall in all likelihood. Players are already turning mutinous. A once-proud franchise has bottomed out.
The last time the Giants lost their first four home games and started a season 1-7 was 1980. That year the Giants finished 4-12, but help was on the way in the person of linebacker Lawrence Taylor, the second overall pick in the draft.
This Giants team, a two-point underdog to the winless 49ers on Sunday, is threatening to finish with the worst overall record in team history. In 1966, the Giants were 1-12-1 under coach Allie Sherman, a mere three years after losing the NFL championship game to the Bears.
Other bad finishes included 2-12 in 1974, 2-11-1 in 1973, 2-10-2 in 1964, 2-8-2 in 1947, and 3-11 in 1976, the team’s first year in Giants Stadium. The Giants were 3-12-1 in coach Bill Parcells’ first year (1983) and 4-12 in coach Jim Fassel’s final year (2003).
Victimized at home
Wait, it gets worse. Last week’s 51-17 loss to the Rams marked the most points the Giants surrendered in a home game since 1964.
On a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon nearly 53 years ago, the Cleveland Browns destroyed the Giants 52-20 at Yankee Stadium. Quarterback Frank Ryan tossed five touchdown passes for the Browns that day. Cleveland went on to win its last NFL championship a couple of weeks later, blanking the Baltimore Colts 27-0.
Back-up quarterback Gary Woods, replacing Y.A. Tittle, threw a pair of TDs to tight end Aaron Thomas for Big Blue in the fourth quarter to make the final score more respectable.
I remember listening to the game on radio that day while helping my father make lasagna. The NFL blacked out home games in 1964, which was probably a good thing – at least we didn’t have to watch.
The Giants record for most points given up in a home game took place in 1948 in a 63-35 loss to the Chicago Cardinals at the Polo Grounds. The Giants also lost 56-7 to the Bears in 1943, and 52-27 to the Rams in 1948, both at home.
Big Blue Bummers: 20 worst losses in Giants history
Dr. John McGovern, right, and Bruno Benziger celebrate their 50th birthday in 1975.
Last week, the White Plains community bid a fond farewell as we celebrated the life of Dr. John V. McGovern. The Doc was truly a Renaissance man and a charter member of “The Greatest Generation,” the group of Americans that grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II.
Dr. McGovern specialized in allergies and immunology, enjoyed singing show tunes and was a licensed pilot who appreciated the fine arts and the opera. Oh yeah, and he also fathered 13 children.
He was a role model for me, like my father, and Bruno Benziger, our Boy Scout troop leader, my uncles Tom and Jimmy, and so many of the men of the previous generation who taught us life lessons and showed us the way, Growing up in White Plains in the 50s and 60s was simply amazing. Those were the days.
I remember the Doc as a healer. When I was a third grader he began treating me for asthma. Weekly shots became bi-monthly, but when I went away to college, the treatments ended.
Dr. McGovern set me on the road to recovery. Along with Dr. John Parrinello, another allergist who treated me in middle age, I eventually grew out of my asthma. .
As a sixth grader back in 1962, I was having particular difficulty breathing. Anyone who has ever suffered with asthma, knows that wheezing feeling, where every breath is painful.
One gray November Sunday, the asthma was squeezing the air out of my lungs. My mother and father wanted to call Dr. McGovern, but I knew he was at the Giants game at Yankee Stadium. In those days, doctors could be paged at sporting events. And they made house calls.
I begged my parents not to call, and they waited until the game ended. The Doc arrived at the house shortly after. He took out his stethoscope, listened to my lungs, and said “this boy has pneumonia. He needs to go to the hospital.”
Shortly after I was admitted to St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, where I stayed for six days. I recovered, and to this day, nearly 55 years later, knock on wood, I’ve never been hospitalized again.
Oh, by the way, the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 31-28 on that November Sunday in 1962. That one was for you Doc. Thanks for curing me.