Super Bowl XLII was not just the culmination of an incredible run by an improbable team.
It marks perhaps the beginning of a long period of prosperity for the New York Football Giants.
Just think: They had 11 rookies on their Super Bowl roster, many of them contributing greatly to the bottom line.
WR Steve Smith made numerous big catches in the playoffs. So did TE Kevin Boss. RB Ahmad Bradshaw was both explosive and powerful. CB Aaron Ross played admirably through injuries. DT Jay Alford had a big sack on Tom Brady in the final minute of the Super Bowl. Zak DeOssie has developed into a fine long snapper and also made a key tackle on the Super Bowl's final kickoff.
Then, there's that defense. Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Antonio Pierce, Corey Webster, Ross, Alford, and Barry Cofield. They are all in their early primes.
Their best pure pass rusher, Mathais Kiwanuka, was out most of the season with a broken leg. He'll be back this year, adding to the firepower. So will Kawika Mitchell, Reggie Torbor, and Gibril Wilson. Maybe even Michael Strahan will come back for some more fun.
On offense, there is of course, Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning at the helm. Say what you want about him, but defer to the ring. Johnny Unitas always said, "You judge a quarterback on whether he can take you downfield in a championship game and get in the end zone." I think that says it all, unless you care to refute the Great One's assessment.
Sure Eli will probably have crappy games in the future. But the doubts that he can produce in a big spot have been erased. We now know that he can do it.
But he won't be alone. He still has that great offensive line with Smith, Boss, Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, and David Tyree. Don't forget the Giants won the Super Bowl without their starting tailback (Derrick Ward) and TE (Jeremy Shockey). They will be back.
DC Steve Spagnuolo was signed to a multi-year deal. Punter Jeff Feagles, at 41, was just signed to contract extension as was kicker Lawrence Tynes.
All of this, plus another year of draft choices by the brilliant Jerry Reese and his staff, will make the Giants contenders for years to come.
People kept telling me at a popular Manhattan watering hole the other night that the spotlight would cut the Giants back down to size.
Really? Am I nuts or didn't they just play five consecutive nationally televised games? Two of which were the most watched in NFL history? In fact, eight of the Giants' sixteen games in 2007 were televised nationally—and one, the game against Miami in London—was televised across the entire English-speaking world.
Get ready for this team to populate TV screens late into January for the next several years.
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