8 Biggest Postseason Goats in New York Giants and New England Patriots' History
The NFL playoffs have a remarkable way of shining a light on the best and worst of a player's and team's overall talent.
When things go the right way, heroes are made. But when things go down the tubes franchises discover goat players and teams.
With that in mind, let's look at the biggest playoff disappointments in the history of the two Super Bowl teams—the New York Giants and New England Patriots—as they prepare for next week.
Here are the biggest goats in Giants and Patriots' postseason history.
Long snapper Trey Junkin was signed only four days before the New York Giants' Divisional Round playoff game with the San Francisco 49ers (via NY Daily News). Junkin would play a big role in one of the biggest playoff collapses in league history.
Junkin was responsible for two bad snaps, which resulted in two failed field goal attempts. The most important of the two was this one (video attached), with only six seconds left would have won the game.
His snap, low and to the side, could not be salvaged.
The Giants would lose 39-38.
With a nine-point lead on the Minnesota Vikings and under two minutes left to play in the game, the Giants appeared to be on their way to Super Bowl XXXII.
However, the Vikings scored a touchdown and had to try a desperate onside kick.
While the Vikings' kick went to sure-handed wide receiver Chris Calloway, he could not keep his hands on the ball (via New York Times). The Vikings were able to recover in prime field position.
Moving down the field, they were able to kick a field goal with only 10 seconds left in the game and take the dramatic 23-22 victory.
Few things could be more embarrassing for a kicker than missing a kick in a big game. That was the case for Giants punter Sean Landeta, who amazingly whiffed a punt near his own end zone during the team's game against the Chicago Bears in the 1985 playoffs.
With the ball bouncing only yards away, the Bears' Shuan Gayle was able to recover and make a whopping return of five yards to go in for the score.
The Bears would go on to win 21-0.
The Entire 2000 New York Giants
The underdog Giants looked at their worst playing a superior Baltimore Ravens squad in Super Bowl XXXV, losing 34-7. The Giants could not generate any momentum on either side of the ball and found themselves with way too far behind.
It was a sad sight for a team who had struggled to get to the big stage. Head coach Jim Fassel put himself on a limb earlier in the season when he guaranteed a playoff birth for the team after they fell to 7-4.
The Giants would win their next five to close out the regular season.
Referee Ben Drieth
A highly questionable roughing the passer call was the big difference as the New England Patriots fell to the Oakland Raiders in the 1976 playoffs.
During a critical fourth quarter drive by the Raiders, referee Ben Drieth flagged Raymond "Sugar Bear" Hamilton for a hit to Raiders quarterback Ken Stabler.
The Raiders were able to score a touchdown on the drive, giving them the winning score of 21-17. Decades later, the call is still considered one of the worst in NFL history.
There's no need to give the wrong eye-dea about what happened to wide receiver Reche Caldwell as the Patriots looked to drop the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 playoffs. The wide-eyed receiver (via Washington Post) had a few critical pass drops, one of which came to no defender within 10 yards (the Colts completely took their eyes off of him on the play).
While the blame for the Patriots late collapse and 38-34 loss could be spread to several players on the team (cornerback Asante Samuel had an unforgivable drop late in the game) there was no doubt that plenty of eyes were going to go toward Caldwell's big errors (via Boston's Bettah).
Head coach Chuck Fairbanks, seen at the 2:10 mark of this video, made things uncomfortable for the Patriots as they prepared for the 1978 playoffs. In the last week of the regular season, he was suspended for agreeing to take the head coaching job at the University of Colorado the following fall, in violation of his contract (via Sports Illustrated).
While he would be reinstated for the playoffs, the No. 2-seeded Patriots would fall 31-14 at home (their first home postseason game in franchise history) against the No. 5-seeded Houston Oilers.
The Entire 1985 New England Patriots
I don't think it's unfair to say that a good deal of New England Patriots fans would like to pretend Super Bowl XX never happened. Subject to a complete domination at the hands of the Chicago Bears, the Pats found themselves on the wrong side of destiny.
The offense was pitiful and the defense was totally outmatched. It was a woeful performance in all aspects of the game.
The Patriots would fall 46-10.