Monday, September 18, 2006

What a Difference a Quarter & OT Makes... [J. Mark English]

For most of yesterday's game against the Eagles, the New York Giants were facing the reality of a lost cause; a lost season.

The day before my own spirits had been crushed by Notre Dame, when they lost at home in South Bend to Michigan 47-21.

The bar where I found myself watching the Giants yesterday also had the Mets game on. The Mets' magic number remains at one after being swept by the lowly Pittsburgh Pirates. What is wrong with the universe? The Mets can't score against an inept team, the No. 2 Irish are destroyed at home, and now the Giants are being beaten in every facet of a game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Then suddenly, a miracle occurs.
Plaxico fumbles, but instead of the Eagles squashing the hope of all Giant fans, Tim Carter finds the ball in the endzone, and the Giants are alive and well at 24-14 early in the 4th quarter.
With momentum taking a 180 degree turn, the Eagles can't move the ball, and the Giants turn into a Super Bowl contender at the flip of a switch.
Tom Coughlin was brought in by the Giants to discipline a team that seemed to have none under Jim Fassell.
To Fassell's credit, discipline may not have been the problem. But mental breakdowns were. There were countless games, and most notably the playoff games against the Vikings in 1997, and the 49ers in 2002 where the Giants outplayed their opponents for three quarters and then just shut down as a whole unit.
Under Coughlin, rare is the game where the Giants don't at least have hope at the end of the game. Most of the Giant wins are not pretty, but they sure do fight despite many of their own mistakes. Last week against the Colts, they may have put themselves in countless holes that seemed impossible to climb out of, but at least at the end of the game they still had a fighting chance to produce a victory. And yesterday, the Giants still had fight in them...they still had pride.
Who knows where this team will go from here. But whether they win or lose the rest of the way, Coughlin can at least count on this team fighting to the bitter end.
My spirits are back, and I'm ready for some more football. And hopefully some champagne after the Mets beat the Marlins tonight at Shea.