The defending champions of professional football—The New York Giants—are human after all.
This afternoon here at the blustery, quasi-sedate Meadowlands all the questions regarding how the Giants would respond to the latest hole in their boat—the Plaxico Burress Affair—were answered.
They came out flat against a fully-staffed Philadelphia squad and were soundly tossed about by the suddenly soaring Eagles. The final was 20-14, but in reality this wasn't much of a contest.
The long week of non-football affairs and negative press is finally over. We now know the Giants are far from invincible. This latest incident has shown that their steely exterior has just been a facade.
Tom Coughlin's bunch has been insisting that the Plaxico Burress episode would not affect their current quest to repeat as Super Bowl Champions. Against the Philadelphia Eagles, it seemed that he is mistaken.
Here's two reasons why:
1) Antonio Pierce, Burress' companion on the night he was shot, played especially poorly, allowing Eagles RB Brian Westbrook to run amok in Northern New Jersey. His mind seemed elsewhere, and he played if it was.
2) Eli Manning and his receiver corp are trying to fool themselves that they will not miss Burress. They are also mistaken. The receivers dropped four balls and Manning threw many other ducks that were mercifully not picked off. The absence of Burress also allowed the Eagles to stack the box and throttle the NY running game.
This could be the beginning of the end for the Giants. Last season, they were the surging team down the stretch. This season, there are many doubts that they can make it back to the Super Bowl. Today, Philadelphia outplayed them badly. Next week they go to Dallas, where they are sure to be beaten. The final two games are against Carolina and Minnesota—two other teams contending for a playoff spot.
They could conceivably lose out the rest of their schedule and enter the playoffs ice cold.
One guy's stupidity has changed this team's karma in only a few short days.