Tennessee 32 Giants 29

2002 was an extremely important year for the Giants and for me personally as a fan. 2002 was, from this NY Giants blogger’s perspective, the year which had the best Giants offense I have ever seen. 2008’s offense could have possibly eclipsed it, but when Burress went down the wheels came off, so 2002 still holds.

2002 had the juggernaut. Amani Toomer was simply fantastic that year. He was the Giants’ #1 WR, and wow could he do it all. He had the speed, the moves, the Toomer toe, in his prime, a Pro Bowl WR for the Giants in everything but name. There was one play that sticks out. The Giants are playing the Colts in Indianapolis, and the first play from scrimmage in Q3 is a flea flicker to Toomer, a bomb of bombs, Collins threw that ball a country mile and Toomer executed perfectly to make it a TD. Collins threw for 4000 yards that season. Tiki Barber ran for 1400 on the ground. Hilliard. And they had a rookie Pro Bowl TE named Jeremy Shockey. That offense could do ANYTHING it wanted. And it only got better as the season went on.

Steve McNair passed away yesterday. The Giants were 6-5 in 2002, playing against the Titans and an injured QB named Steve McNair. Fassel’s offensive juggernaut scored oodles that day, it could have scored a lot more. With the Giants leading 20-14 in Q3 they proceed to march down the field and score a TD. We’ve just entered Q4, there are 14 minutes left in the game. Your team is up 26-14. There is NOTHING TO DISCUSS.

RULE #6: Repeat after me, Do not go for the 2 pt. conversion until there are 6 minutes left in the game. If there are more than 8 minutes left in the game, it is a 99% certainty that it was the wrong decision.

Fassel goes for 2 and the conversion fails. Giants still up by 12. Tenn and McNair score. 26-21. The Giants juggernaut 2002 proceeds to march right down the field and gets hung up at 1 yard line. No problem, the game is winding down, we’ll kick a FG and ice the game. Except now we are up 5 instead of 6. And 5+3 makes 8 (29-21), enough for Tennessee to come back down the field (there was a little Fassel Prevent Defense here and/or in the prev Tenn drive, if memory serves), score the TD, and have McNair get the 2 pt conversion. And the Giants lose in OT. Last night Eddie George remembered the life of Steve McNair and he remembered two games which McNair led his team back to victory. This game was one of them. Funny how everyone remembers things differently.

You cannot give the good players and the good teams too many opportunities. It’ll come back to bite you. The prevent works vs bad teams because they cannot execute well enough. Steve McNair, injured body and all, was a good player on a good team, and you cannot disrespect them for one moment. (The following year, McNair would be League MVP, an honor only one NYG has ever held in the modern Super Bowl era.) McNair put on a clinic, capitalizing on a ray of light left by the Giants.

It is somewhat stunning to hear of the loss of such a huge NFL warrior. Did you note how Eddie George also talked about the pain that McNair played through? McNair did not practice the week leading up to the game with the Giants. Too much pain. As fans we do not appreciate or understand the threshold of pain these men have and what they will do to play. This is such a violent sport. 250 lb. and 300 lb. missiles being thrown at you game after game, year after year. The violence seems to follow into players’ personal lives… Stallworth, Burress, McNair. Sad.

After all of the stories of his career, the NFL MVP, the Pro Bowls, the Super Bowl loss at the 1 yard line, to die at 36 from a gunshot. Whether it was murder or murder suicide, it is a terrible loss.

Separately, how ironic is it that JUST DAYS AGO the NFL held its rookie symposium to warn and educate its recently drafted players of the traps and minefields awaiting them? I hope these new members of the NFL realize that class is still in session.

Arrow to top