I remember being a kid in January of 1987 and watching the Giants win Super Bowl 21 and hearing a mentor say, “See what happens when you stick with your team?” That was an incredible year. The Mets (my true heart and first love) had won an incredible series in October and only months later, the Giants did it again. It was sports euphoria. It was incredible. It wouldn’t last.
The Giants did go on to win Super Bowl 25 in equally incredible fashion in 1991, but it had been awhile since I had the chance to enjoy a team I followed winning the championship. And tonight I got that rare opportunity.
But before I go on, I have a confession….
About halfway through the season, seeing how up and down the Giants offense was, I looked ahead to only one moment. Game 16 on the Giants schedule was against New England. It was such an incredible run to see New England winning game after game after difficult game. I got a little scared after watching the Patriors beat the Colts… and as the season drew to a close, I only had one hope. Not that the Giants would make it to the post season. But that the Giants would beat the Patriots to give them that blemish on their record.
That’s right, I was willing to see them lose — first round, whenever — for the chance to see the Patriots not go undefeated in the regular season.
With that said, I was willing to ride this thing out for as long as it would last. Beating the Bucs was great. Didn’t expect much more. Beating the Cowboys was incredible. Beating the Packers was envigorating. (I cried for about three minutes after that win.) But to face the Patriots? How much more could you ask from these guys?
All week I had been doing my best to set myself up not to be disappointed. I didn’t touch any Giant jerseys. Didn’t pull out my jacket. I just talked to anyone who would listen about how proud I was of my team (and how proud I would be — regardless of the outcome of this so-called “Super Bowl”.) The important thing is that the Giants — the team that nobody chose to win — were champions of the NFC.
As much as I am overjoyed by this win, I have to apologize to Eli Manning. As a matter of fact, a LOT of people have to apologize. I know he’s young. But Sunday after Sunday of watching unforced errors kept me wondering how long it would be before we’d see him show what he was made of. (Or if he ever would emerge from his brother’s shadow.) Well, he had been showing me all season. I just wasn’t watching closely enough. I was looking for him to be some other guy. But in the end, he showed me what he was made of.
After watching Tiki Barber leave, I was pretty down. And then hearing him give inside accounts of Eli and how he lacked leadership qualities, kind of made me wonder if it would ever happen. I’m so glad that the team shut me up tonight.
This will probably go down as my least coherent and all over the place blog posting… but please excuse me. This is truly an emotional win for me. After this game, I couldn’t fight back the tears. This time for a bit longer. It’s an incredible feeling to have your team win. It’s another thing to have them win in the face of what people call ‘impossibility’. Today the Giants showed us that anything is possible. Climbing that mountain. Attaining that goal. Even perhaps beating “the greatest team in the history of the NFL”.
When I wished only for the Giants to beat the Patriots in that last regular season game, I did so because I thought that was the best scenario that there could possibly be. Well, tonight I was wrong. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Congratulations to the Giants. From Feagles to Madison, Plaxico to Osi, Tynes to Coughlin, Tuck to McQuarters, Dockery to Hedgecock — you guys have given me a reason to smile. I’ll never forget this season where you made the impossible within reach.