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What happened to the Giants’ trademark?

The Giants won Christmas Eve. Whether you like it or not, it was a battle of mediocrity. At a meager 8-7 record, they put themselves in position to win their division.   Paraphrasing our GM Jerry Reese: Once you’re in the “tournament” anything can happen.

Last season kiss my a** Tom boasted like Rex Ryan about how a 10 win season was an accomplishment in the NFL.  Meanwhile with TEN wins, this did not qualify them for the playoffs.  Needless to say,  they hit the links.  Winning the division is usually more of an accomplishment than just finishing with 10 wins, but the Giants have that opportunity this weekend.  However, much to the consternation of this blog, we dispute the relative competitiveness of the NFC East.  Longstanding Giants fans: Are we satisfied with their performance versus a coach with “the dream team” who had his “worst coaching job of (his) tenure? Not only did (Reid’s) self-promoting team underachieve spectacularly, it did so in a year “when the rest of the NFC East was pathetic.”  Sadly, the Giants had the chance to put them away weeks ago, but let the numbers game handle that.  Let’s not forget the 2 losses to the bottom-dwelling Redskins.  If the Giants do prevail on Sunday against the Cowboys, it will be a first.  The NFC East champ would lose two division games versus a last place foe.

What happened to the tradition of Giants football which we have grown accustomed to.  We used to watch their tradition of linebackers with Huff, Van Pelt, Carson and Taylor.  The Giants team was about a tough physical defense that stopped the run.  They stood for a physical and power running game.  When everyone knew the Giants were going to run, needing a yard or two, they got it done.  Many Giant fans can remember getting amped up when the defense took the field. Contrast the past with the present defensive unit.  One winces when they take the field with a lead.

My father related a story that preceded the dark years of Giants football.  Allie Sherman took over for Jim Lee Howell, who incidentally had the likes of Lombardi and Landry on his staff.  Sherman was an offensive-minded coach very much like Coughlin is today.  Cornerback Erich Barnes, who was good friends with my father, was up for a contract after the first season under Sherman.  After his contract expired he went to the front office to re-negotiate.  Barnes called my Father from the front office and said, “Did you hear they just traded Sam Huff?”  My father replied, “No.”  The player added, “Well if they traded Huff everyone is available.”  That season Sherman discarded many key players on defense and built his team around the offense. 

The Giants historically have produced some big names in NFL coaching history such as Lombardi, Landry, Fox, Payton, Spagnuolo, Belichick and Parcells. Problem is they don’t cultivate them. Instead we let them go and get the likes of Allie Sherman, Perkins, Handley, Reeves, Fassel and Tom Coughlin.  I related a story some time ago about how cheap and conservative the Mara family has been.  My father told about sitting next to Rose Mara at the wake of Tim Mara’s funeral.  My father asked Mrs. Mara if they had planned to hire Vince Lombardi as their next Head Coach.  Her response was, “Oh no son, he wants too much money and an apartment too.”  So we only hope that Mara and Tisch will not repeat the poor decisions of the past.  We hope Mara desires to bring back the traditions that we have lacked this season and truly see what this team really is:  a mediocre team in a pathetic division.