Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Plaxico Burress had a swift fall in 2008 from his game-winning touchdown catch in Super Bowl XLII.
In the four seasons following a Super Bowl title, the Giants have failed to make the playoffs three times. However, the one time they did make the playoffs ended up being not only their most disappointing title defense, but also the most disappointing season of all time for this proud franchise.
The Giants started the 2008 season 10-1 and were clearly the best team in the NFL. Their passing game was efficient, their running game dominant and they had a top-10 defense as well.
Then, on the Saturday before their 12th game, the unthinkable happened—the Giants' best receiver, and most vital offensive weapon, Plaxico Burress, shot himself in the leg at a Manhattan nightclub.
With this bizarre story dominating the back pages the next day, New York managed to win their 11th game, 23-7, in Washington against the Redskins.
However, the Giants faltered down the stretch, losing three of their last four regular-season games, after they suspended Burress for conduct detrimental to the team.
Despite their late-season struggles, Big Blue still managed to capture the top seed in the NFC and faced the Eagles in the divisional round. Philadelphia, however, stifled the Giants 23-11, scoring 13 unanswered points in the second half to seal the game.
The main reason for their struggles after the Burress suspension was an offense that suddenly couldn’t score. After tallying 20 points 10 times in their first 12 games, including six efforts over 30 points, the Giants only managed to score over 20 points once the rest of the season.
Without Burress, the Giants' passing game lacked a threat worthy of a double-team, making it easier to match up on the rest of New York’s mediocre receivers and also key in on their rushing attack.
The 2008 season was easily the Giants' best chance at back-to-back Super Bowl titles. While Big Blue hoisted the Lombardi Trophy again in 2011, the missed opportunity in 2008 still rankled Giants fans and the players involved.
It was the epitome of a disappointing season—so much hope and possibility erased in the matter of five weeks, mainly because of an incident that had nothing to do with football.
All stats, unless otherwise noted, courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com.
If you want more, follow Tamer's tweets, become a fan or like his Facebook page.