5-11. 6-10. 7-9. 8-8. The pre-season predictions were pouring in last summer and they all were negative. The Giants were a team that was going backwards.
Their MVP, Tiki Barber, retired. So did their longtime GM, Ernie Accorsi. They were still waiting for the light to on for their young quarterback, Eli Manning. The team was not responding to veteran coach Tom Coughlin any longer, but new GM, Jerry Reese re-signed him anyway. A new defensive coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo was brought in from the Eagles.
The low expectations got lower. The season began with two high-scoring losses to Dallas and Green Bay. Then the Giants won ten of their next 14 games including all seven road games and qualified for the playoffs as a wild card. After road playoff wins in Tampa and Dallas, the Giants find themselves in the most unlikeliest of places - the NFC Championship Game.
As a Giant fan, I have not been able to process this. But, considering all of the weird and wild things that have happened this season, I really shouldn't be surprised.
During the regular season, the Giants were just 1-5 vs. playoff-bound teams.
They participated in the first regular season game outside of North America on Oct. 28. They snuck by the hapless Dolphins, 13-10 at bog-like Wembley Stadium in London.
They only have one Pro Bowl player—DE Osi Umenyiora.
The Giants had two Pro-Bowlers in 2006—Barber and Jeremy Shockey. Barber is gone and Shockey was lost to a broken leg in week 14. Ironically, two other players—LB Mathias Kiwanuka and RB Derrick Ward—were also lost for the season with broken legs.
Without Barber, the Giants were fourth out of 32 overall in team rushing this season.
All eight players chosen by the Giants in the 2007 draft are on the current roster. In fact, 20 of the 26 players chosen from the 2004-7 drafts are on the current roster.
When the Giants broke camp and were down to their final cuts at RB they chose to keep Ahmad Bradshaw because he could return kicks. They traded the player he beat out to Green Bay for an undisclosed draft pick. His name was Ryan Grant.
Plaxico Burress was held out of practices by the Giants during the season to rest his injured ankle, but was allowed to play in games.
Michael Strahan unretired right before the season began and played in all 16 games and both playoff games.
The Giants were 3-5 at home and 7-1 on the road in 2007.
Considering all of the above, I wonder...What's next?