New York Giants' Five Most Agonizing Losses of This Millennium

Aaron LiebmanAnalyst IMay 21, 2009

Yes, I know the millennium hasn’t even reached 10 years now, but if I extended it before this, there would be so many others I would have to bring up. Now when I say losses I don’t necessarily mean blowouts. I mean games where they simply did not show up, or at least at some point in the game just gave the game away.

For that reason, you will not be seeing the Super Bowl loss to the Ravens. Sure, they were blown out in that game and their only score of the day was a kickoff return for a touchdown, but they clearly were not as good as the Ravens were that year. 

Heck, people had called the Giants the worst team to ever get home field advantage, and owner Wellington Mara joked that they were now the worst team to ever reach the Super Bowl.


This game proved the Giants just weren’t ready to take it to the next level yet.  The final score was 23-0 but it wasn’t even as close as that.  Big Blue only gained 109 total yards on the day and Eli Manning threw three picks.

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The Panthers became the first road team to shut out a team in the playoffs since the Rams did it to the Buccaneers in the 1979 NFC Championship Game.


The reason why this regular season loss is even worse than the one in the playoffs is that had they won this game, that wild card matchup against Carolina would never have happened (at least not in the wild card round).  You see with this loss the Giants finished at 11-5 while the Seahawks earned a 13-3 record. 

Had the Giants won the teams would have been even at 12-4 and the Giants would have won the tiebreaker and therefore gotten home field advantage (then again, with the way they treated it this past year, that might not have helped at all).

The Giants had so many chances to win the game which ended up going into overtime.  The loss was frustrating mostly because kicker Jay Feely missed three potential game winning kicks in the game.  The only positive note for him was that at least it wasn’t IN New York. 

Feely would go on to leave the Giants the year before they won the Super Bowl, but would face them that season with his new team, the Miami Dolphins in London, where he missed a game tying field goal, giving his former team the 13-10 win.


If anybody watched this game and said afterwards the Giants would ever win a Super Bowl with Eli Manning at quarterback, let alone the next season, you obviously were on something. 

Even those with E.S.P. would not have trusted their senses. The Saints came in on Christmas Eve and beat down the Giants 30-7.  Not a horrible score, but how they played is the focus. 

You could kind of understand why running back Tiki Barber, playing in his next to last regular season game, would go on to criticize Manning after the season. 

On one particular play, Eli fumbled a snap, and then just looked around himself like a clueless child looking for his lost toy.  He made absolutely no attempt to recover it, and kind of seemed like he didn’t even know he didn’t have the ball until New Orleans recovered.

The loss dropped the Giants to 7-8 and only a Herculean effort by Barber next week in Washington got the Giants into the playoffs. In that game, Barber rushed for more yards than Eli even passed for.  Like I said, anyone who predicted the Giants to win the Super Bowl next year would have to fallen into a coma circa 1986 and just woken up.


Where do we begin here?  Once again, this is an example of never being too confident in the Giants. The whole day seemed like a nightmare and the way they played was even scarier than on.

I’ve expressed my thoughts on this game on numerous articles and won’t force you to read them again. Plus, I’ll probably mention it again at some point in my rantings.


The reason this game is number one has mostly to do with the after effects. But even without that, leading a game 38-14 on the road in San Francisco where the Giants haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 NFC Championship Game, and then giving up 25 unanswered points is bad enough.  Leading by 24 points seemed too good to be true and it was. 

One thing about the Giants that has always been true is that it’s never that easy to win a game. It’s more of a roller coaster than any suspense thriller.  And like a suspense thriller, it can scare you to death.

Even now finding themselves trailing by one point, the Giants had one last chance for a comeback.  They lined up for a field goal, but the snap by Trey Junkin was mishandled.  A Hail Mary throwing attempt by the PUNTER failed, and the Giants were eliminated.

Feeling it was special teams that lost the game for them, that was the Giants main area of concern heading into next season.  They even brought in Herschel Walker as a return man. But special teams woes would take a backseat as the Giants dropped to 4-12, including losing their last eight games. 

During the streak, chants of “Fire Fassel” were yelled from the rafters, and the head coach did absolutely nothing to try to fight for his job. In fact, instead of simply finishing out the season, he felt the need to get the official answer from the owner that he would be fired at the end of the season. 

He said he wanted to coach the last two, both of which were blowout losses, but he no longer had to listen to negative chants against him.

Although this playoff game brought an end to the Jim Fassel/Kerry Collins reign in New York, it did bring about the Tom Coughlin/Eli Manning one the very next season. And the rest is history.


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