Giants fans, like all fans worry about the success of the team, how their players are performing, and what the match ups look like for the next game.
Above all else, they care about the image of the team, and what fans of other teams think of when they think of the Giants.
For the most part, the Giants have not disappointed when it comes to team image. To my knowledge no player has been suspended for steroid use. The team has also been very good at keeping problem players off of their roster, and ridding themselves of distractions (i.e. Jeremy Shockey).
Then came Plaxico Burress.
During his first three seasons with the team, Burress did nothing but impress the coaching staff and fans with his ability to make catches and leap above defenders. He and Eli Manning consistently ranked near the top of the league in many categories including Quarterback to Wide Receiver touchdowns.
Burress's field presence was critical for sideline throws and fade routes, including the one that won Super Bowl XLII for the Giants. He towers above every defender assigned to cover him, making him an easy target for Manning, who can have accuracy problems at times. At the start of the 2008 season, it looked as if he would do the same to lead New York to another Super Bowl appearance.
Then came November 28, 2008
Everyone already knows the details, so specifics will be spared. After shooting himself in the leg Burress was suspended for the rest of the season for "conduct detrimental to the team". If they could have suspended him for stupidity, surely they would have done that too.
So, the question still remains: Should the Giants keep Plaxico Burress? (assuming his next uniform is not an orange jumpsuit). The question here is between results and integrity. Sure fans want the team to succeed, but is success only a win-loss record?
If the Giants care at all about integrity and doing what is right, no matter the consequence, then they should release Burress and let another team deal with him. The Cowboys have a similar issue with Tony Romo and Terrell Owens. Both attract attention from their actions off the field. With all the talent they have, it seems odd that they have not had any recent success in the postseason.
Getting back to Burress, it seems to be that the Giants can win without him. Although they lost four of their last five games this season, their running game and defense are more important to their success than the passing game. And when it becomes necessary to throw more often, they do have the targets to do that with.
Kevin Boss is a significant improvement over Shockey, who could not catch a ball thrown right his numbers.
Amani Toomer is still a gamer even after all these years, and the young guys like Steve Smith and Dominik Hixon are poised to blossom into star receivers.
Burress is expected to be in court on March 31st to enter his plea. It remains to be seen what the Giants will do.