New York Giants fans need to step off the ledge for a second. The major beef of this offseason has been the lack of marquee signings—most notably, missing out on Plaxico Burress, failing to re-sign playmakers Kevin Boss and Steve Smith and the release of Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert, long-time staples on the offensive line.
Oh, how quickly Giants fans can forget.
Going into the 2007 season, the biggest signing of that offseason was LB Kawika Mitchell to a gargantuan one-year, $1-million contract. That’s right, Kawika Mitchell. That year, the Giants were coming off an 8-8 season where they ranked 11th in the NFL in points scored and 24th in points allowed.
They had also lost starters Carlos Emmons and Luke Petitgout to free agency in the offseason. Eli was still an unproven commodity, as he had yet to get the Giants out of the Wild Card Round, losing to the Eagles the previous season and getting blown out by the Panthers the year prior.
Before the season, there was not much reason to predict a Super Bowl year ahead. One of the bright spots going into that season was a promising draft class.
That year, the Giants selected a first-round shut-down corner, Aaron Ross (Prince Amakumara?); a blue-chip defensive tackle, Jay Alford (Marvin Austin?); and a big-play slot receiver, Steve Smith (Jerrel Jernigan?).
That draft class had a few other surprising contributors in Kevin Boss and Ahmad Bradshaw, who, as we know, came into their own by season’s end and were major factors come playoff time.
Only time will tell if this year’s draft class will have similar breakthrough players.
This year’s team is coming off a 10-6 season where they were seventh in points scored and 17th in points allowed. Last season didn’t result in a playoff trip, but winning 10 games is not an awful season.
Daniel Snyder would’ve signed Albert Haynesworth all over again for a 10-win season. It’s natural to see what the Eagles and Jets are doing and get frustrated. However, football is not a sport where marquee guys automatically equal more wins.
In the NBA, when a team like the Heat can sign Lebron, Wade and Bosh, who are going to make up three-fifths of their starting lineup, then yes, they are automatically going to equal more wins.
In MLB, if the Phillies sign Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, then yes, pitchers like this are going to automatically equal more wins if they pitch to their potential.
But in football, if a fullback misses a block on a weak side blitz, and Vick fumbles the ball leading to a TD, it doesn’t matter what Nnamdi Asomugha is doing on the other side of the ball. In football, you can’t just add up the parts to figure out what the win total is going to be.
There’s a reason that since the 2007 season, in the 16-team NFC, every team but three has won a division title. Further, the 2007 Giants and 2010 Packers won the Super Bowl as wild-card winners.
The point here being: Anything can happen in any given season.
Who knows what the 2011 season is going to bring? The Giants may win three games; they may win 13.
The offseason can give some indication about what will happen on the field, but sometimes it doesn’t—as the 2007 title-winning team showed us.
For now, let’s all get psyched for the upcoming season and not get too worked up just yet.
That, of course, is what Monday mornings are for.