Last night I had a dream. In this dream the NY Giants destroyed the Dallas Cowboys in a must-win game for the 'boys in their own stadium on national television, thus ending the Cowboys season and seizing control of the NFC East. Then, the craziest thing happened in my dream: Tony Romo went down with a shoulder injury that could end him for 6 to 8 weeks and Wade Phillips was left scratching his head . . . again. The best part of this dream was that the entire country finally got to see why Eli Manning is a top 5 QB and Tom Coughlin is a GREAT head coach. And that defense. Oh my God. I don't even want to talk about that big-D, our NYG big-D. Then I woke up and it was real.
One month ago the NY Giants were humiliated on NBC by Peyton Manning and the Colts. The score was lopsided but in addition to that the whole Giants operation looked like a sinking ship. Coughlin seemed out of sorts (translation: he seemed old and out of touch all of a sudden) and Brandon Jacobs was throwing helmets into the stands. As a fan I was upset that the Giants put on such a poor performance in front of a national audience, and I found it harder to convince anyone outside the big-blue circle that Eli was great and Tom Coughlin was a top-tier coach, not just a tired, well-paid, content grandfather of 14. One week later: blasted at the hands of Tennessee in the new 1.6billion-dollar digs in the Meadowlands. Record: 1-2, Coughlin's future: In Limbo, Danger Level: Red.
Then two things happened 1) Tiki Barber opened his mouth, blasting Coughlin again, and 2) I made the 2.5hr drive south to East Rutherford to watch the Giants battle the Bears. I'm not sure which factor played a bigger part in the bone-crushing beating the Giants D handed Chicago that rainy night in NJ, but I'm guessing the Tiki comments reminded the entire organization whose back they really had, reminded them that this team chose this coach over that player in '07 and was going to show the world they were ready to do it again. (By the way any man who leaves his wife when she's pregnant with twins to be with a 21 yr old the way Tiki did is complete scum.) Four straight wins later, the Giants are the class of the NFC...again, and looking a lot like that plucky, championship bunch from '07. Record 5-2, Coughlin's Future: Bright, Danger Level: n/a
What I loved about last night was the character that the NY Giants displayed. Down twice early (10-0, 20-7) they just kept digging until they took Tony Romo out (the 5th QB the Giants D has sidelined this season) and had their hands squeezed around the throat of every Cowboy player and coach. If it wasn't for 2 brilliant replay challenges by Tom Coughlin early in the game, the Cowboy lead could've increased. Both those challenges by Tom were masterful and led to 7 NYG points; more if Brandon Jacobs didn't fumble. Eli Manning was a God last night. He picked Dallas apart like a playground bully. Think about this: Big Blue turned the ball over 6 times and still scored 40+pts. Imagine if the NYG's had zero turnovers. They would've scored 70pts. Dallas converted one 3rd down, one! It was a mauling of epic degree, and I couldn't be happier, despite the sloppy NYG playing down the stretch. I didn't like the let-up with the big lead. But, hey, thank God the Giants have a great Head Coach to make that a teachable moment.
Last night was a victory for tough guys, proven winners like Tom Coughlin. His coaching was a work of art. The game plan was perfection, executed with hit-man precision. Coughlin made Wade Phillips look like a FOOL on his own field. Eli was amazing, despite the picks. Don't believe me: read the stat lines. Any idiot who thinks Eli is "average" knows nothing about football. Eli average? No. Vince Young is average. Ryan Fitzpatrick is average. There are six QB's in the entire NFL with Superbowl rings. Eli is one of them, plus an MVP Trophy. Average? Are you insane? Have you ever seen him work his magic at the line of scrimmage? You give Eli a defense and he'll take you to the playoffs. I promise! It looked like he was playing Cohoes High School last night. That (the Cowboys) was the team favored to win the NFC this year? Really? Eli average? Get real.
Every other word from Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden last night (the game announcers) was a praising of Coughlin and/or Eli. What can I say? Experts are experts for a reason. And I was so happy that all this good stuff happened in front of 20million viewers. Now finally (maybe) people will understand when I say that Eli is a top 5 QB and Coughlin can't be replaced. Nobody wins a football championship in Oct. I get that. But in the NFL, as in life, it's not how you start, it's how you finish. Right now I like where the NYG's are going. R.I.P. Dallas.
Next NYG stop: Superbowl...again