I am as excited as I can be on July 4th, a day to honor America and celebrate the freedom that we enjoy in this country, which is really unlike any other. Today is also George Steinbrenner's birthday, and I am grateful he has built the Yankees back into a powerhouse during my life time.
But let's cut to the chase, we are 2 months away from the New York Football Giants(note to editor don't change it to New York Giants) opening up their title defense in East Rutherford, NJ against the Washington Redskins. To say that I have been looking forward to that moment when Eli and company present their third Super Bowl banner to New York, New Jersey,and Connecticut. The Giants are more than a New York team. They play in New Jersey and are popular in NY, but also many do not know that they did play in New Haven, CT. I also have purchased a banner and will hang it up on September 4th.
The Giants now have a big bandwagon that is occupied to capacity with fans who were casual fans turning into die-hards all of the sudden. I intend on going up to SUNY Albany for a day (about 3.5 hours north of the Metropolitan New York area in which I reside) and expect to see that place full. I went before the 2005 season to see new free agent acquisition Plaxico Burress and was amazed by the Giants practices.
The G-Men though, can't have a let down, and as I have said before need to be motivated by adversity. People want to call their championship a fluke. They want to say whatever about Eli and his inconsistency. This Giants team has to still be hungry because if not, they will miss the playoffs in the high powered NFC East. This division has produced all four wild card spots over the last two seasons.
When rookies Kenny Phillips and Terrelle Thomas report to camp, they need to listen up and realize that they are no longer the stars of the U and USC respectively, but rather will have to fit in within the locker room of veterans. I look to see Antonio Pierce and Eli Manning show their leadership to them of the expectations of being a New York Giant, on and off the field.
I look to see the Giants scouts properly evaluate who should be in the starting role, who will be in the back up spots. Most of all, I look for Tom Coughlin to not be satisfied and have the idea of "playing with house money after last years Super Bowl win". That playoff run excited a city, a metropolitan area, and even the country with their emotional ride through the playoffs, but there is still more for this team.
They are now the team who has a bulls eye on them because everyone wants to beat the Giants. Michael Strahan always said "Every time you put on this uniform, you do it for each other". That is the response that should be taken as football is a team sport. It is not about being a prima donna off the field and causing distractions. Giants, you are in the business of winning football games and making the headlines for your on the field actions.