5 Things for Which New York Giants Fans Can Be Thankful
It's time to give thanks, New York Giants fans.
Thanksgiving Day and professional football go together like turkey and gravy. Ever since Detroit radio executive George A. Richards bought the Portsmouth Spartans, relocated them, renamed them the Lions, and pitted his new squad against the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day 1934, a tradition was born. Thanks to Richards' vision, we're still forced to watch the Lions on Turkey Day nearly 80 years later.
Now, with the New York Giants standing at 4-7 after a 24-21 loss to the Dallas Cowboys, it may seem like there is little for which fans of the team can be thankful. However, before drowning your sorrows in inordinate helpings of mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, read this article.
Here are five things for which Giants fans can still be thankful.
A Storied History
The Giants have been around since 1925, and with only three existing franchises—the Bears, Cardinals and Packers—predating them, New York has one of the richest pro football histories in all of America.
Eli Manning and the Giants were winners of two of the last six Super Bowls, but before that New York won Super Bowls in 1986 and 1990 with possibly the greatest defensive player of all time, Lawrence Taylor, leading the way.
If you dig even further, you'll find the Giants' dynastic era of the late 1950s and early 1960s, when New York held a league championship bid six times during an eight-season span. You'll also find New York's championship squads of the 1930s, anchored by two-way Hall of Famer Mel Hein.
The Giants have been on both sides of history. For every David Tyree catch, there was a Matt Dodge punt. New York's unexpected win over the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII is remarkably contrasted by the Giants' gut-wrenching loss to the Baltimore Colts in The Greatest Game Ever Played.
The Giants are iconic, and rarely can a tale of NFL lore be told without the New York franchise popping its head in at some point.
Giants fans can be thankful for their team's unique history.
A Quality Organization
The Giants ownership has been in the Mara family since its inception in 1925. The Tisch family became partial owners in 1991, when Wellington Mara's nephew, Tim, sold his stake in the franchise.
The Giants are one of the most loyal franchises in the entire NFL, with the best of the best earning chances to become lifelong Giants. Even those with flings on other teams eventually return.
Consider the case of safety Deon Grant, who played three seasons each with the Panthers (2001-'03), Jaguars ('04-'06) and Seahawks ('07-'09). Grant played just two twilight seasons with the Giants ('10-'11), but he signed a one-day contract with New York in August 2013 to officially retire a Giant.
General managers George Young, Ernie Accorsi and now Jerry Reese have assembled decades' worth of competitive squads, as all-time great head coaches, like Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin, have taken that talent to the pinnacle of NFL success.
Perhaps running back Brandon Jacobs said it best upon his return to the team back in September.
"This is where I wanted to be," Jacobs said, per ESPN. "These are the coaches I want to play for and I wanted to come back with my teammates. This is the place I love most."
Giants fans can be thankful that their favorite team is one of the NFL's best-run organizations.
The Giants aren't playing their best ball currently, but running back Andre Brown is.
Brown spent the first eight games of the season on temporary injured reserve, patiently awaiting his return from a twice-broken leg. He has been the Giants' starter in each of the past three games, making his presence felt in the Giants' limping offense.
With only three games under his belt, Brown is already the team's leading rusher with 308 yards—an average of 102.7 per game. That average is currently the league's best, but it'll be a tough one to maintain moving forward. Even the league's most efficient runners—LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson—barely exceed an average of 90 yards per game.
Although Brown has yet to rip off a run longer than 20 yards, he is great at moving the chains. With 20 first downs on only 69 attempts, Brown earns his team a fresh set of downs on nearly 30 percent of his carries.
Giants fans can thank Brown for being the saving grace of New York's struggling offense.
The NFC Least
Although the Giants have had an awful season of their own, fans of the team can find solace in the fact that none of their biggest rivals are faring much better.
The Redskins, New York's upcoming opponent, actually have one fewer win than the Giants; co-division leaders Dallas and Philadelphia sit only a game above .500.
The Giants haven't played well against division opponents, having been swept by the Cowboys and splitting with the Eagles. With two late-season wins against Washington, however, New York can still finish with a respectable 3-3 record against NFC East foes.
At least no team is running away with the division title, like the Patriots and Seahawks appear to be doing in the AFC East and NFC West. The eventual division winner may finish only a game above .500, squeaking into the playoffs with little hope for a postseason run.
Misery loves company, and Giants fans can be thankful that the other teams in the division aren't dominating.
It Isn't Over...
If the Giants have taught us anything, it's not to count them completely out until they are mathematically eliminated.
And, at this point, even the fourth-place Redskins are still eligible to claim the division title.
Obviously, for that to happen, a lot would need to fall into place for the 'Skins; the same can be said for the Giants. But we need only to look back to the 2011 season to find the last seven-loss team to win the NFC East—the eventual Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants. A year before that, the Seahawks claimed the NFC West crown with nine losses.
Anything can happen in the final weeks of the NFL season, and for that Giants fans should be thankful.