1: Giants collapse in epic 38-31 loss to rival Eagles --- This game has by now been oft described & overtly evaluated and there is probably not a solitary NFL fan on the planet well versed in how this critical, crushing defeat was dealt to the New York Giant universe by the fleet footed combo of reborn, mayhem inducing Michael Vick & one of leagues most frightening new game breakers, 5-10, 175 pound, former Cal University star, DeSean Jackson.
Up 21 with 8 minutes and change to go, the defeated, demoralized N.Y. Giants now find themselves looking up at the Eagles in the NFC East standings and looking ahead to a crucial match up this weekend in Lambeau against a Green Bay team as desperate as they are for a win and an opportunity to gain a Wild Card Berth to the post season tourney.
No doubt a deep, collective breath is called for. Some perspective too for the downtrodden Giant loving masses --- and I'm not going to get all melodramatic here with allusions to world wars, regional wars, drug torn neighborhoods, countries lacking for food or essential medical supplies.
I'm not going to talk about the current recession, people struggling to keep their homes, put food on the table, looking over their shoulders for a potential pink slip every day they arrive at work.
No, I'm going to take a pass on those rather obvious avenues and instead look to something from the world of sport, gut check moments, maybe the gut check moment of all sporting gut check moments.
In October of 1975 the great Muhammad Ali met up with a rival of his own, one seemingly weathered by time, adhering to diminished skills. His name was Joe Frazier and the setting was the epic showdown in Manilla, later to be forever memorialized as the Thrilla' in Manila.
For years Ali had tormented the game Philly southpaw with endless taunts. Frazier was ugly, a gorilla, (he initially coined the fight a Thrilla' in Manilla with a Gorilla), and worst of all from Frazier's perspective, an Uncle Tom.
Ali felt as though the fight would be a cake walk for him, especially after Frazier had taken a brutal beating from massive George Foreman not long before this third encounter between the two.
But as boxing history and anyone fortunate enough to have borne witness recalls, things didn't work out that way. During the fight itself a frustrated Ali said to Joe Frazier after absorbing a left hook to the jaw that trainer Angelo Dundee later described as the hardest punch he had ever seen thrown or absorbed in his life, "they said you was washed up, Joe!" To which Frazier said to Ali in response, "They lied, Champ, they lied."
That night in Manila, Joe Frazier fought Muhammad Ali like his life depended on it, as if the fight and it's end result may have even meant more to him than life itself.
They exchanged endless brutal blows, and afterward, after the two had battled in a way that few fighters had ever done in 115 degree temperature no less, Ali recounted the engagement as having been the closest thing to death a man could ever experience while actually living.
Yes, the New York Football Giants and all their followers need to take a breath now. The N.F.C. East crown has been stupidly forfeited, virtually given away. A first round bye is out. Homefield in round two is out.
It was a brutal blow, a horrifying loss, the worst Giant team members and followers alike will probably ever endure.
But they are not dead. Like any true warrior in even the most adverse of circumstances they still have a fighters chance. They can still survive the depths of this recent brutal defeat, beat Green Bay this Sunday and make the playoffs as a Wild Card.
That will give them at least an opportunity to make the pain go away.
Will it be easy?
Who the hell ever said life was easy? You live long enough and you'll be dealt plenty of blows, but that doesn't mean we stagger to the floor, and Sunday's defeat to the Eagles, as brutal as it was, doesn't mean the New York Giants have to lay in a bath of self pity either.
I mean that's the beauty of the NFL isn't it? Every game this time of year is life and death, relatively speaking, and even the worst kind of loss or losses can be remedied.
So take heart Giant fans. I don't just feel your pain, I am your pain, but I'm not giving the season up and you don't have to either.
The final bell has yet to sound.
And that's it for today,