It doesn't really feel like an eternity ago. Thanks to the pervasive phenomenon known as NFL replays Giant fans can still readily draft a mental clip of the Eli Manning - David Tyree connection which led to the Burress corner route that sealed the 2007 Super Bowl deal.
They remember the run leading up to the big day pretty well too. Manning looking sharp in Tampa, the big stand by the defense against Dallas and the battering the front four laid on fancy, Cowboy QB, Tony Romo.
The frozen Green Bay miracle, Plax coming up even larger than his six-five frame — all of it still resonates loudly in the collective minds eye, if not DVD libraries of Giant fans everywhere and while these wonderful memories are enough to warm the cockles of any NFL loving heart there comes a time and place where things need to be put in their proper perspective.
Three full years have past, Plax shot himself in the foot and a promising 2008 season went down the tubes, 2009 was an epic disaster, 2010 brought another exhausting breath of quintessential disappointment.
Change oriented thinkers look at Tom Coughlin and see a man bordering on retirement age and wonder why he doesn't just act on that inclination or Big Blue management doesn't prod him with something more than a gentle nudge right out the new Giants Stadium front door.
Even if they don't lay all the blame on Coach Tom they look at his staff, Special Teams Coach Tom Quinn, Secondary Coach Pete Giunta, even offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride and wonder how in the world all three of these Coughlin cohorts continue to be employed by the team.
But that's Tom Coughlin's way, loyal to the end, and a lot of Giant fans can relate because they have been bleeding unwavering Giant Blue since birth and depending on when that monumental occurrence might have actually taken place that hasn't always been such an easy pigskin pill to swallow.
Even beyond these two groups, those for change, those for loyalty, you have your particularly annoying group of fans or followers which we'll categorize as apologists.
They're the ones who can come up with a rationalization for any lacking performance, or if compelled to, put a revisionist spin on anything from Eli Manning's endless 2010 penchant for the turning the ball over — approximately two times per game in the season past, as if any football team could overcome that type of sloppy ball handling — or a defense that ranked reasonably well by seasons end, but too frequently got manhandled when it counted and looks to have some glaring holes that need to be filled heading into 2011.
Oh yes, Eli is still one of the top QB's in the game, they insist, and while there's no doubt at his best he is as good as almost any starter in the NFL, these revisionist spinners simply refuse to acknowledge his shortcomings or how they impact upon the teams well being when he is going through momentum changing dead spots which seem to arise within every sixty minute stanza.
In fairness not all of it needs to be laid at his feet.
Does every throw Manning makes needs to sufficiently thread a well defended needle? One has to wonder with the endless breath of weapons the Giants have compiled — and two of the biggest, Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw are free to ply their service elsewhere next season — why Coach Gilbride hasn't been able to adjust his chalkboard to better resemble what we see out of the opposition who too frequently run thru gaping spaces in a Giant defense that is supposed to be so terribly formidable.
The reality is this team can drive you crazy, and it's starting to feel like the Giants are in a perpetual rut.
Each season opens to great promise, hoopla over the draft picks, a couple of free agent pick ups, more than enough to get all the Giant blue blood pumping — only to come crashing down in some season ending event, none worse than last year versus Philadelphia and a week later against the eventual World Champion Green Bay Packers.
Those who are against change point to the positive. Well at least we were in position to make a move on the playoffs even if we collapsed in the worst possible fashion.
Many will harken back to that Super Bowl year. "We won it all in 2007", that's the standby rallying cry, "and there's no reason to think this coaching staff can't get the same result in 2011".
Or maybe 2012.
Sometime before we all get old and gray, that's for sure.
Those with their eyes on the bigger picture see an evolving, vastly improved NFC.
They wonder how a team that needs to dramatically upgrade their linebacking core, requires speed in the secondary — especially if they ever intend to contend with the go go Packers, Eagles, Saints, etc. — better health or fresh blood on the offensive line, even running back and wide receiver help if Smith and Bradshaw decide to bolt, will keep up, particularly with a coaching staff intact that for all the rah, rah touts of professionalism can't get the Giants to play like, well, Giants in games where nothing less than a superior effort and crisp execution will do.
All that having been said, it's fait accompli at this point. Tom Coughlin and his crew will be back, the draft's coming up, assuming some deal is cut between the owners and players a free agency period will eventually abound.
There will be a guarded sense of enthusiasm heading into the sixteen or eighteen game 2011 regular season and hopefully the New York Football Giant's will flourish.
But if they do not, if 2011 turns out to be another season of unfulfilled expectations, even if that means nine or ten wins but no playoffs, change will have to come.
In the NFL there's only one thing that counts and that's making the post season dance, working your way to a real run at the biggest of season culminating prizes. Teams that expect those kind of results don't spend time dwelling on achievements from three or four years ago.
And their fan base shouldn't either.
That's if for today,
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