And so it ends. The Giants are out of the playoffs. I had been expecting it because , purely from a statistical point of view, a repeat Super Bowl triumph seemed unlikely. When the G-men beat the Carolina Panthers in Week 15, I allowed myself a brief flicker of hope but it was not to be. I ‘m only sorry that a) they went out with a whimper and b) that they lost to the Eagles , a team I detest only slightly less than the Cowboys. I know my niece , who is studying at Wharton , is even more upset than I am, though for a different reason. She lives near Rittenhouse Square and , when the Phillies won the World Series, the celebrating fans kept her awake the whole night. Eagles fans are even louder and nastier and I shudder to think what might happen if the Eagles go all the way.
I had missed watching football the last three weeks since I was out of the country and last Sunday I found myself unexpectedly busy. Initially, I was rather upset at having to miss watching the Giants but , seeing how thoroughly the Giants were outplayed in the second half, it all worked out for the best. By the time I plunked myself down in front of the TV, the scorte was 20-11 Eagles and the game was out of reach. I didn’t stay long. In fact I don’t even feel like writing about the game.
The Giants future. Of all the expected changes for next year’s Giants, I suppose the biggest will be the loss of Steve Spagnuolo, the defensive co-ordinator. He’s a hot property right now and will probably be named head coach by some team before the week is out. I wish the Giants had been able to keep him, perhaps by making him an Asst. head coach with more money and promising him the head coaching job when Tom Coughlin retires, perhaps next year. Just a pipe dream! Of the other changes, I would be surprised if MLB Antonio Pierce is re-signed. He’s not the dominant force he used to be and they need to upgrade the position. Pierce has been a great influence on the younger players and he’s been a good soldier but the fallout from the Plaxico Burress gun incident is unfortunate. RB Derrick Ward is also probably going elsewhere for more money and the receiving corps needs to be upgraded. Amani Toomer has been terrific for the Giants but what the Giants sorely need is a burner at WR . If only Plaxico Burress had any sort of brains, the Giants might still be in the hunt. Steve Smith and Dominek Hixson are just fair and don’t fit the bill. Both the offensive and defensive lines are solid and there are several 2008 rookies who should be able to contribute next year.Also, I have faith in the Giants GM, Jerry Reese ; with the extra picks he got for Shockey ( and what he’ll get for Plaxico Buress) and a couple of judicious trades, the Giants will be in the hunt next year. As a fan, you can’t ask for more.
The remaining teams are Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Arizona and Philadelphia. Who would have thought two weeks ago that the final four teams would not include Carolina? Or Indy ? Or the Giants ? or Tennessee ? The biggest surprise has been the Arizona Cardinals and the ease with which they handled the Carolina Panthers and the Atlanta Falcons. I’ll be rooting for them to beat Philadelphia and for the pittsburgh Steelers to send the Baltimore Ravens packing.
Now that the Giants are no longer in the mix, I’ll be able to enjoy football without being on tenterhooks !