The sports world offers spectators a respite from the everyday challenges of reality. It’s there for our enjoyment; to bring us moments of elation, excitement, and even agony.
But what the Giants have done to me this season transcends all of that.
Clearly, at 0-5, enjoyment and elation haven’t even been considered. Agony? Agony is losing a well-played game by the slimmest of margins. The only time Big Blue came close to that was week one against the Cowboys, and that was hardly a well-played game.
Heading into Sunday’s game against the Eagles, however, I was excited. This is our bounce-back game, I told myself. We’ll compete with these guys, I said. Sure, their offense looks pretty good, but anyone can score on that defense. We’ve got a fighting chance, at the very least.
And Sunday’s game was exciting.
Exciting until the Giants turned into the 2013 squad of silliness that has graced the gridiron for the past month’s worth of weekends.
Want to know where the problems started? It may have looked small, inconsequential, even, but it spoke volumes as to what was happening on the field. Just minutes into the first quarter, on Philadelphia’s second drive, the Eagles were called for holding on 3rd-and-9.
The Giants had two choices: take the penalty, which would have resulted in a 4th down punt by the Eagles, or deny the flag and give Philadelphia a 3rd-and-20 situation.
So let me ask you, my faithful Big Blue brethren. If you’re up against the league’s leading rusher and greatest scrambling quarterback of all time, while slogging through an 0-4 season, would you give the opposition another chance, or force them to punt?
The answer’s pretty clear, in my opinion. GET THE BALL BACK.
I yelled at the TV. I yelled through text messages to various other football fans. I yelled at myself for yelling at a team that is clearly lost. It’s like trying to reprimand a toddler who doesn’t know what he's done wrong.
The next play, if you need to know, was a 34-yard scramble by quarterback Michael Vick. The series ended with just three points for the Eagles, but it very well could have been the Giants ball – and maybe, just maybe some extra points for New York.
The game, for me, kind of ended there. Sure, we kept it close, but then Eli Manning did his thing and tossed interceptions on back-to-back drives in the second half, eliminating any chance for a win.
We saw the stats a million times before, during, and after the game. No 0-5 team has ever made the playoffs. Well, if we sat here and got excited and said “The road to 11-5 starts now!” would you really believe the team deserves to be there? I certainly don’t.
There are four winless teams in the NFL heading into week 6 – two in each conference. It’s safe to say at least two of them – in addition to the Giants – will be vying for a top-5 draft pick in the spring.
Yes, I said draft pick. In October. Relating to the New York Football Giants.
Sad, isn't it?
It hurts me just as much as it hurts you, believe me. But it is what it is. I’m not even sure (yet) what the team should focus on to improve, aside from just about everything.
As for the remainder of the season, it’s time to pack it in and try to enjoy what’s left. Let's say goodbye to Tom Coughlin (sure, he's got another year on his contract, but I've got an inkling he'll retire at the end of 2013) and hope our franchise players don't get too hurt.
If you enjoy football for the sake of the game, then the Giants are going to give you 11 more contests to watch this fall and winter. If you enjoy football for the winning, maybe you should tune in to the winter sports seasons now ramping up.
Big Blue hits the road Thursday night to take on the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field.
Don’t worry about being blurry-eyed at work Friday morning; the game will be over quick so you can go to sleep early.