They won't make fun of our Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season.
They will be no laughingstock of the league.
They will get respect and they will win games in the National Football League.
Those Buccaneers scared the living daylights out of the good people of Metropolis and their Giants up there Sunday.
For three quarters, a band of upstart pirates captained by Greg Schiano took it to the Super Bowl champions. Over the first 30 minutes, they dominated, they intercepted, they ran and they threw their way to a 24-13 lead, and the good people of Metropolis panicked. They were angry, distraught and booed their football team as it headed to the locker room.
They had just witnessed 30 minutes of plundering, capped by a sensational 60-yard theft and run of an Eli Manning pass by the multimillion dollar corner Eric Wright that produced the Bucs' third touchdown of the half.
The threat of 0-2 was more than Metropolis could bear. The plea was sent out and heard.
Ordinary Eli went into the halftime phone booth, donned his cape and returned as "Super-Manning."
You've seen him before. You've seen him take his team to two Super Bowl championships. You've seen him lead about a million fourth-quarter comebacks, or so it seems.
Little did our unsuspecting Buccaneers know that when they led 27-16 going into the final 15 minutes, Super-Manning had them right where he wanted them.
He stopped the plundering. He restored order to Metropolis. He subdued the unrelenting pirates.
By the time it was over, Manning had ripped up the Buccaneer secondary for 510 yards, his most productive day as a professional quarterback, and his Giants racked up 605 yards, the most in 62 years, second only to the 1950 team that put up 609.
Holy track meet.
But you could see it coming, couldn't you?
Somehow, that 11-point lead with 15 minutes left didn't seem enough, not with Superman directing the Giants, not with Hakeem Nicks making ground beef out of Aqib Talib. The Giants receivers let Superman do his thing. All they had to do was run under his perfect passes. Nicks had 199 receiving yards, Victor Cruz 179.
With Wright sidelined and the defense growing tired, it was a pure mismatch.
There wasn't an ounce of quit in our Bucs, though.
Josh Freeman got his offense together, hit Mike Williams with a 41-yard touchdown pass and tied it at 34 with 1:58 to play.
But you knew what was coming.
You don't tug on Superman's cape.
You don't give Eli that much time with the game on the line.
Yeah, the Bucs lost 41-34.
But this is a good Buccaneer team, a team that should win games, a team that will earn respect this season.
It just wasn't quite good enough on Sunday.
Tom Coughlin ticked off at Greg Schiano: OneBucSite.com