Giants’ best is Patriots’ worst
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.