Giant Meltdown as Bad as It Gets

Giants fans can’t cope with their team’s miserable play down the stretch.

Move over, choke artists. Teams like the 1964 Phillies, 1978 Red Sox and 2004 Yankees, or the 1978 Redskins and 1993 Dolphins. Golfers like Greg Norman at the 1996 Masters and Jean Van de Velde at the 1999 British Open. You’ve got company.

The monumental collapse of the New York Giants rivals all those and more. Unless the Giants beat the Redskins, get help and somehow make the playoffs, it will go down as the greatest late-season meltdown in NFL history.

How historic was the Giants collapse? New York’s defense gave up 73 points in a little over a full game, between the 28-point, fourth quarter Meadowlands meltdown, including DeSean Jackson’s game-ending punt return, pictured below, against the Eagles and the last score in the 45-17 disaster at Green Bay.

The NFL record for most points in a game occurred in the 1940 championship game, when the Chicago Bears crushed the Washington Redskins, 73-0. Do the math — the Giants gave up 73 points in their collapse — all in just a little more than four quarters. 64 minutes and eight seconds to be exact. That’s incredible.

How monumental was the Giants fall? The Giants were on the verge of wrapping up a  two seed and first round bye before it all fell down. It’s tough to find a more horrible collapse in NFL history.

Other NFL Collapses
The 1978 Redskins began the season with six straight wins, and ended with five consecutive losses to finish 8-8. That same year, the first Miracle at the Meadowlands occurred, a portent of things to come in Giants- Eagles games..

The 1993 Dolphins had a big fall. On Thanksgiving Day that year, Miami defeated the Dallas Cowboys on the Leon Lett play to improve to 9-2. But they lost their last five games and missed the playoffs.

The 2003 Vikings had a potent offense led by Daunte Culpepper and Randy Moss. They started the season 6-0, but then when into a tailspin and lost seven of their 10 games. With a chance to salvage their season in the final game, they gave up a late touchdown and lost to the Arizona Cardinals, 18-17.

Back in the days before the Super Bowl, when there were no playoffs, just a championship game between division champions, there were some memorable collapses.

In 1957,  the 49ers, playing the Detroit Lions for the Western Conference title,  blew a 27-7 third quarter lead at Kezar Stadium (now known as Bob St. Clair Field in San Francisco and lost to the Detroit Lions, 31-27. The Lions went on to beat the Cleveland Browns, 59-14, the following week for the NFL Championship. They haven’t won one since.

In 1958, the Cleveland Browns, needing only a win or a tie, lost to the Giants,13-10, on Pat Summerall’s late field goal in the swirling Yankee Stadium snow. That forced an Eastern Division playoff the following week, which the Giants won 10-0. The Giants went on to lose the NFL Championship to the Baltimore Colts 23-17 in overtime in what is called “The Greatest Game Ever Played.”

Unless the Giants somehow rebound to get into the playoffs, their collapse will be the one that sets the standard for all others.

Misery loves company.

It Doesn’t Get Any Worse Than This

A punt return by Philadelphia’s DeSean Jackson on the final play of the game put the capper on an thinkable collapse by the New York Giants.

It’s hard to imagine a more crushing loss than the one the Giants suffered on Sunday to the Philadelphia Eagles when they blow a three-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter. New York lost on a 65-yard punt return on the final play of the game — the first time in NFL history a game has ended on a punt return for a touchdown.

This qualifies as the worst loss in the 85-year history of the franchise. Not only did they blow a huge lead to a division rival at home, they lost a chance to put a stranglehold on the NFC East and an almost certain playoff spot.

It was an epic collapse by a team that was once considered a Super Bowl contender. Now the Giants, coming off a stunning loss, will have to fight just to make the playoffs.

Already the vultures are circling. There are reports that Bill Cowher is ready to return to coaching, with his sights set on the Giants and Tom Coughlin.

“I’ve never been around anything like this in my life,” said Coughlin after the Meadowlands meltdown. “It’s about as empty as you get to feel in this business.”

The Giants have had some bad losses over the years, but the “Miracle at the New Meadowlands” is the worst. It beats out monumental playoff collapses against the 49ers and Vikings, and the original “Miracle at the Meadowlands”, also against the Eagles, when the Giants failed to take a knee and end the game.

Those playoff losses were brutal, and of course there’s no tomorrow after a playoff loss. And that loss to the Eagles in the original “Miracle” game was devastating yes, but remember the Giants were a terrible team then, mired in an 18-year playoff drought.

But yesterday was a total, unthinkable team collapse and the worst loss in New York Football Giants history.

Giant Bummers: 10 Worst Losses in Big Blue History

Eagles 38, Giants 31, Dec. 19, 2010 — Eagles rally from a 31-10 deficit in the fourth quarter and win the game on a punt return by DeSean Jackson.

49ers 39, Giants 38, Jan. 5, 2003 — Giants blow 38-14 lead, lose to 49ers in controversial, wild card playoff finish.

Eagles 19, Giants 17, Nov. 19, 1978 — In the original “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” Herm Edwards returns fumble for TD win as Giants fail to run out clock, below right.

Vikings 23, Giants 22, Dec. 27, 1997 — Vikings overcome 19-3 halftime lead, score 10 points in last 1:30 to win wild card playoff.

Rams 19, Giants 13, OT, Jan. 7, 1990 — Jim Everett throws touchdown to Flipper Anderson in overtime as Ram win divisional playoff.

Bears 14, Giants 10, Dec, 29, 1963 — Bears capitalize on five Y.A. Tittle interceptions to beat Giants for NFL title at Wrigley Field.

Redskins 72, Giants 41, Nov. 27, 1966 — Giants allow NFL record 72 points to Redskins, who add insult to injury with late field goal.

Jets 37, Giants 14, Aug. 17, 1969 — It was only a pre-season game, but with the win the Super Bowl champion Jets legitimized themselves in New York.

Ravens 34, Giants 7, Jan. 28,  2001 — Ravens defense overwhelms Giants at Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa.

Colts 23, Giants 17, OT, Dec. 28, 1958 — In “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” Giants lose to Colts in only overtime championship game in NFL history.

For extra measure, a few more crushing defeats:

Bears 23, Giants 21, Dec. 17, 1933 — Bears tally a late touchdown on trick play to win first NFL championship game.

Cowboys 16, Giants 13, OT, Jan. 2, 1993 — Emmitt Smith runs for 168 yards as Cowboys beat Giants to clinch NFC East.

Jets 27, Giants 21, Dec. 18, 1988 — With a playoff berth on the line, crosstown rival Jets rally to beat Giants in final minutes.

Browns 8, Giants 3, Dec. 17, 1950 — After beating Cleveland twice in regular season, Giants lose to Browns in playoff for conference title.