"The Giants season is over", "Coughlin needs to go", and "Is this the worst defense ever?" are questions that were asked after the first two games this year for the New York Giants. I'll admit that last quote was me and my faith in the Giants was dwindling. The Giants season hinged on one game against the Washington Redskins and thru half of the game they were still a terrible defense. All of a sudden something changed, the defense new the system, people were flying to the ball, and just as importantly getting to the quarterback. A few short months after the Giants seemed to be on the brink of a full on rebuilding phase they are now the World Champions. The headlines about this game will be about how the Giants derailed the Patriots quest for perfection but the Giants made history of their own by becoming the first NFC team to win the superbowl from the Wild Card spot. The Giants also won 11 games this year away from Giants stadium to set an NFL single season record.
The Giants this year flew under the radar for the most part which is made clear by the fact that they only have one player representing them in the Pro Bowl this year (Osi Umenyiora). This is a team without stars that relied on different heroes week to week. Sometimes Eli Manning threw the ball all over the field and looked like the cerebral quarterback that the Giants drafted him to be. If Eli was struggling the Giants had a strong running game which got contributions from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw at the end of the year but the team may not have been in playoff position if it wasn't for the strong running of Derrick Ward in the absence of Jacobs and before the emergence of Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw was part of a group of Giants rookies that all had at least some role in the Giants run to the superbowl. Aaron Ross stepped in and did a good job starting at cornerback. Zac Deossie was the teams longsnapper and was often the first man down on special teams. Steve Smith came on late in the season and was a clutch third down security blanket for Eli Manning just like Amani Toomer was a few years ago. Jay Alford was part of the defensive tackle rotation and handled the snapping duties on field goals. Michael Johnson played free safety and had some brilliant performances such as the game against the Detroit Lions earlier in the season.
Some Players that contributed to the Giants run at the Superbowl were guys who were castoffs of other teams or guys who were considered mediocre by the media. Eli Manning was the first pick in the draft but threw a league high 20 interceptions and was consididered one of the weak links of the Giants team. Amani Toomer was too old and too slow to be a contributor. Plaxico Burress didnt have the heart to be a winner ( I think he proved that misconception wrong with his gutsy play all year) The offensive line was a group of relative unknowns who had just lost their starting left tackle and wouldn't be able to protect Eli Manning's blindside. Tiki Barber had retired and left the Giants with no proven running back and a guy who was a bit of a novelty in Brandon Jacobs.The secondary was old, slow, and never that good in the first place, there is no chance they were going to be able to keep up with the better receivers in the league.The linebacker weren't athletic enough to run the attacking scheme that Steve Spagnuolo was expected to bring from Philadelphia. All of these players proved their detractors wrong and they now sit on top of the world alone as Champions.
The Giants may continue to get no respect from people around the league ( Why is Justin Tuck still repeatedly being called Jason in the media? The guy just had 2 sacks in the biggest game of his life) but that doesnt matter because these New York Giants stand alone as champions and no one can take that away.