Gi­ants’ best is Pa­tri­ots’ worst

New York Daily News - - SPORTS -

THE GREAT­EST vic­tory in Gi­ants his­tory is also the worst and most un­for­get­table loss of Tom Brady’s ca­reer. As the Gi­ants cel­e­brate the 10th an­niver­sary of the 2007 team that up­set the un­de­feated Pa­tri­ots in Su­per Bowl XLII, which will be high­lighted by the half­time cer­e­mony at Mon­day night’s game against the Li­ons, there is no cel­e­bra­tion go­ing on in New Eng­land for the 10th an­niver­sary of the only 16-0 reg­u­lar sea­son team in NFL his­tory.

Why? They lost the only game that re­ally mat­tered. Of course, the Pa­tri­ots came up with a nice sub­sti­tute when they un­furled their fifth Su­per Bowl cham­pi­onship ban­ner last Thurs­day night be­fore get­ting run off their home field by the Chiefs.

A few years ago, I was talk­ing to Brady about the dis­ap­point­ment of not be­ing able to fin­ish off the sea­son 19-0 and join the 1972 Dol­phins (18-0) as the only un­de­feated Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons.

Brady rarely brags about him­self and usu­ally is not given to su­perla­tives. He keeps things in the mo­ment and in per­spec­tive and never looks past the next game. It’s worked for him for a long time. But even with all his ac­com­plish­ments, an empty feel­ing re­mains about what hap­pened in Su­per Bowl XLII against the Gi­ants.

“To me, that was the great­est team that ever played in the NFL,” he said. “We won so many games against the tough­est com­pe­ti­tion that year by big mar­gins.”

That was also the year of Spy­gate, and even though the Pa­tri­ots’ es­pi­onage ca­pers were un­cov­ered by the NFL in the first game of the year af­ter be­ing tipped off by the Jets and they couldn’t spy on de­fen­sive sig­nals and de­code them the rest of the sea­son, there was still a back­log of in­for­ma­tion from pre­vi­ous years that po­ten­tially could have ben­e­fit­ted them.

Brady was pas­sion­ate in his own de­fense dur­ing the De­flate­gate non­sense and he dis­missed gain­ing any ad­van­tage from the spy­ing.

“Our team be­ing 18-0 be­fore we lost to the Gi­ants re­ally spoke for it­self,” he said. “But none of that had any in­flu­ence on me in any game we ever played, you know. It was a whole lot of noth­ing from my stand­point.”

Brady has five Su­per Bowl ti­tles, a record for a QB, and four Su­per Bowl MVPs, a record for any­body, but what very well may have been the great­est reg­u­lar-sea­son team in NFL his­tory was stopped by an in­cred­i­bly pas­sion­ate Gi­ants team with an un­stop­pable pass rush that pum­meled Brady and then by David Tyree’s hel­met catch on a play that be­gan with Eli Man­ning wig­gling his way out of the clutches of the Pa­tri­ots de­fense when the play could eas­ily have been whis­tled dead for in-the-grasp.

Then again, it has more than evened out for Brady thanks to Seat­tle’s Pete Car­roll not giv­ing the ball to Mar­shawn Lynch in Su­per Bowl XLIX and At­lanta’s Kyle Shana­han not giv­ing the ball to Devonta Freeman in Su­per Bowl LI.

Mon­day night will be the first time the Gi­ants’ 2007 team will be back to­gether to stand be­fore a Gi­ants crowd since the vic­tory cel­e­bra­tion. Maybe Ben McA­doo should let this year’s team watch the fes­tiv­i­ties. It might pro­vide some in­spi­ra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion.

The 2007 team lost its sea­son opener 45-35 to the Cow­boys in a Sun­day night game. The de­fense didn’t show up and then gave up 35 in a loss to the Pack­ers the next week. They had only a 10-6 record, but by the play­offs, the de­fense was rolling and held the Pa­tri­ots, com­ing off the high­est-scor­ing sea­son in NFL his­tory, to just 14 points in the Su­per Bowl.

This year’s Gi­ants team lost 19-3 in last week’s opener in Dal­las when the of­fense didn’t show up. Per­haps when it mat­ters most this sea­son, they will fig­ure things out just like their 2007 fore­fa­thers.

The Jets are 0-1 but none of the big names they ei­ther cut or didn’t bring back this sea­son picked up their first vic­tory un­til Hous­ton beat the Ben­gals on Thurs­day night in the open­ing game of week two.

Here’s how the Jets alumni group per­formed in their week one losses: Ti­tans WR Eric Decker: 8 tar­gets, 3 catches, 10 yards, no TDs. Started and played 60 of 64 snaps (90%) Gi­ants WR Bran­don Mar­shall: 4 tar­gets, 1 catch, 10 yards, no TDs. Started and played 49 of 57 snaps (86%) Pa­tri­ots LB David Har­ris: 1 tackle; 2 of 68 snaps (3%). He barely got on the field with Bill Belichick start­ing six de­fen­sive backs. Sea­hawks DT Shel­don Richard­son: 4 tack­les, one QB hit. Played 54 of 82 snaps (66%). Tex­ans RT Breno Gi­a­co­mini: He has played all 145 snaps in the Tex­ans’ two games. He was part of the line that gave up 10 sacks to the Jaguars in the Open­ing Day loss, but the Hous­ton line im­proved and

ALL THE HUB­BUB

In­ter­est­ing con­trast: The Charg­ers play their first home game Sun­day vs. Mi­ami in Los An­ge­les in the 27,000-seat StubHub Cen­ter, a soc­cer sta­dium in Car­son. They will play there un­til the $2.6 bil­lion sta­dium in In­gle­wood they will share with the Rams opens in 2020. Mean­while, the Fal­cons play their first reg­u­lar-sea­son game in the new 71,000-seat $1.5 bil­lion re­tractable roof Mercedes-Benz Sta­dium. The con­ces­sion prices are fan-friendly: $5 beer, $2 hot dog, $2 re­fill­able soda. Maybe that will help the fans for­get the Fal­cons had a 28-3 lead in Su­per Bowl LI and lost to the Pa­tri­ots… By the way, Fal­cons fans did help build the sta­dium with their PSL money. The cheapest PSL is $500, the most ex­pen­sive $2,500. Rel­a­tive to Jets and Gi­ants PSL prices (tops out at $20,000-$25,000), it’s as rea­son­able as their food prices.

DANCE PARTY OBJ

You want to give Odell Beck­ham credit for know­ing bet­ter than to get into a danc­ing con­test with Rus­sell West­brook last Mon­day night at a club in the city when he’s got an an­kle in­jury that he re­vealed was a 6-8 week re­hab. I’m count­ing on TMZ to come up with the Dance Fever video. Un­til then, OBJ gets the ben­e­fit of the doubt that he didn’t do any­thing stupid. But…he went with three team­mates to Mi­ami one week be­fore the play­off loss in Green Bay and then played the worst game of his ca­reer. …Af­ter say­ing Beck­ham was lim­ited in prac­tice on Thurs­day, Ben McA­doo was asked his re­ac­tion about the re­port that he was danc­ing at a club. “Odell was lim­ited to­day,” re­peat­ing his ear­lier an­swer as if the ques­tion was not asked. McA­doo is wound so tight, I tried to lighten the mood when I asked him. “Was he lim­ited on the dance floor?” He didn’t laugh. Well, I thought it was funny…Sug­ges­tion for McA­doo: Put Eli Man­ning in the no-hud­dle for a few se­ries and see if that gets the of­fense go­ing. He’s done some of his best work in his ca­reer in the hurry up…The Cow­boys at­tempted to trade up in the first round last year to get QB Pax­ton Lynch. They backed off when the price was too high. They were then un­able to trade up in the fourth round for Con­nor Cook and set­tled on Dak Prescott later in the fourth. Prescott, now 14-3 in the reg­u­lar sea­son, starts in Den­ver on Sun­day af­ter Lynch was beaten out for the se­cond year in a row by Trevor Siemian. Lynch’s shoul­der in­jury is why John El­way had to bring back Brock Osweiler af­ter the fi­nal cuts. Siemian was a rookie third-stringer be­hind Pey­ton Man­ning and Osweiler in 2015 be­fore Osweiler went to Hous­ton and Cleve­land.

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