How the N.Y. Knicks Can Learn from N.Y. Giants' Super Bowl 2012 Victory
There's finally good news for us New Yorkers (and fans, we appreciate you, too).
In the midst of the calamity at Madison Square Garden and the broken "Super Bowl or Bust" promises from Gang Green's Rex Ryan, one hometown team gives us a reason to be proud to be from city that never sleeps.
Led by truly elite QB Eli Manning, the New York Giants came out victorious in Super Bowl XLVI, stunning Tom Brady and the New England Patriots 21-17, and taking home the Lombardi Trophy for all fans to be in awe of.
But how can the G-Men's success rub off on floundering hometown counterparts?
While the Jets' season has already come to a close, the Knicks have much to take away from the Giants' giant success.
Sitting at an abysmal 9-14 on the outside of the playoff picture in the weak Eastern Conference, the Giants set a shining example of how Carmelo Anthony, Amar'e Stoudemire and even head coach Mike D'Antoni can turn the franchise around in a matter of days.
Defense Wins Championships, Not Offense
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Contrary to what everyone expected, Super Bowl XLVI was a low-scoring game.
All of the so-called expert analyses predicted anywhere between a 25- to 35-point shootout, but in the end, the Giants were able to come away with a win by only scoring two touchdowns.
How did they manage to do that?
One word: defense.
On the Patriots' first drive, pressure from DE Justin Tuck forced an errant Tom Brady throw which was ruled as intentional grounding from inside of the end zone, thus ruled a safety.
Later in the game, faced with one-on-one coverage out on an island, matched up with injured Pro Bowl TE Rob Gronkowski, LB Chase Blackburn came away with a game-changing interception that stole any momentum the Patriots had left.
Those two turnovers, plus holding the usually stagnant New England rushing attack to only 83 yards, is merely a testament to how pivotal stingy defense is to success.
The Knicks are currently 17th in the NBA in opponents points per game, allowing teams to score 95.3 points on nearly 45 percent from the field.
Even worse, they're allowing opponents to shoot a league-high 39.5 percent from downtown on them, and even worse-r, they're averaging less points than they allow, scoring only 94.9 points per game.
Whether it starts with finding a new head coach or a players-only meeting holding each member accountable, defense has got to become a priority.
Not chucking up jumpers.
When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going
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It wasn't too long ago that the Giants were in a similar, if not worse predicament than the Knicks are right now.
At 7-7, facing relentless win-or-go-home situations, the Giants never faltered.
With their backs against the wall, the G-Men shined even brighter, notching convincing wins over their hometown rival New York Jets and their division rival Dallas Cowboys to earn a Wild Card playoff spot.
They then continued to defy the odds against the Atlanta Falcons, the red-hot Green Bay Packers and the stingy defense of the San Francisco 49ers, all leading up to their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.
Even in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers hit Manning an appalling 18 times.
But did the future Hall of Fame QB give up?
No, Manning hung in there, sat in the pocket like a grown man and delivered accurate strikes to get his team to the Super Bowl.
The N.Y. Knicks, however, are not looking like a group of grown men, but rather a gang of whining divas waiting to get their mani/pedi fix.
Currently sitting pretty at 10th in the Eastern Conference with a 9-15 record, the Knicks are on the outside looking in.
Carmelo Anthony's been everything short of brilliant, Amar'e Stoudemire seems passive in his shot selection and coach Mike D'Antoni's job security is hanging, literally, by a thread of yarn.
Even though the season is shortened to 66 games, the NBA season is far longer than that of the NFL's.
It's never too late for a team as talented as the Knicks to turn it around.
The Best Player on the Team Must Step Up and Fill His Role
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Before the season began, Eli Manning's confidence was tested when he was asked whether he believed he was among the elite QBs in the NFL—i.e., Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and his oh-so heralded older brother, Peyton Manning.
While his pitch and tone lacked confidence, his answer was a resounding "yes," and he's proven to be everything and more than the critics believed he wasn't.
Whether it's Melo, STAT or the Harvard grad, Jeremy Lin, someone's got to step up and assume leadership, responsibility and accountability for the wallowing Knicks squad.
Superstars are paid tens of millions of dollars not to just sit around, but to be super.
Melo's taken either too many or outrageous shots, or a combination of the two.
Stoudemire's settled for more jumpers than Russell Westbrook, and Coach D'Antoni refuses to preach the other side of the rock.
The Knicks are one of the top five best teams on paper, but on the court they look like a bunch of hapless vagabonds, just playing for a paycheck.
It's time for someone to step up and get the fire roaring under everyone's hind sides.
Consistency Is Key
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This isn't something for the entire team to learn, but for the superstars to learn from the superstar.
Eli Manning, since the Giants' win-or-go-home victory over the Dallas Cowboys, has been nothing short of phenomenal.
In his last five games, since it's mattered most, Manning has only thrown one interception—a barely visible blemish compared to his 11 touchdown passes and 1,565 passing yards.
Carmelo Anthony, though he's averaging 23.3 points per game, is shooting a dismal 39.8 percent from the field, 29.7 percent from three and has showed a lack of urgency, energy and liveliness down the stretch.
I mean, come on.
We all saw it against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.
Derrick Rose knocks down a free throw to make it a three-point game, and with five seconds left, Anthony sluggishly wallows up court and chucks up a prayer-less 33-footer.
I don't know about you, but if that's my franchise centerpiece, I'm changing teams.
And Stoudemire, for the first time this season, played with life when an actual IQ-bearing PG in Jeremy Lin entered the game to read the defense and run pick-and-rolls.
It's all got to change.
The Knicks have got to start showing up, or else the fans won't. (Except Spike Lee.)
Plain and simple.
The Knicks Will Be Champions Sooner Than Later
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Sooner or later, and hopefully sooner than later, the New York Knicks will get it together.
Carmelo Anthony will start slashing more than shooting, Amar'e Stoudemire will have that poster dunk that fires him up and Mike D'Antoni will never again be allowed to grace the sidelines of a Knicks game.
They'll break out of this slump they've been in and turn things around.
The Knicks, right now, are the Philadelphia Eagles of the NBA.
All that talent, but they just can't find a way to put it all together and win games.
That'll all change (or so I hope).
Maybe it'll take a blockbuster trade, or maybe it'll just take Baron Davis returning from an injury. Maybe Jeremy Lin's the missing link, or maybe, just maybe, Coach D'Antoni's driving this franchise into the dust.
Either way, a change will come.
They're a ways away from the finals, but maybe the G-Men's success is what they needed to get the engines roaring.
Kristian Winfield is a Featured Columnist on the Bleacher Report. For friendly banter and fresh sports talk, you can follow him on Twitter @BriscoXCI.