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Penthouse to Outhouse and Back

You’d have to be a hermit on some interstellar asteroid not to know by now that the New York Giants pulled off one of the upsets of the ages by beating the undefeated and invincible New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. Because of that unlikely but very deserving victory, they were moved into the football penthouse — for a moment. That moment lasted … well, for just a moment.

When the football ‘experts’ finally caught their breath — and the game really was breathtaking — they called the Giants a “good team that got hot at the right time” and concluded that, for all it’s drama, Super Bowl XLII was simply a fluke. The Giants were, thus, evicted from the penthouse and relegated to the outhouse where, through a crescent shaped opening in the door, they watched the Pats move back into the penthouse where they’ve remained all off season.

Fast forward five months and two weeks later to Monday night, August 18, 2008. In the first quarter of preseason game#2, the Giants completely dominate and dismantle the Cleveland Browns — one the sexy playoff picks of 2008. Incredibly, immediately, unabashedly, the play by play ‘mavens’ and next day talk show ‘geniuses’ at ESPN, the NFL Network, the newspapers, local and national, move the Giants back into the penthouse. Suddenly the word ‘fluke’ is absent from everyone’s vocabulary. Suddenly everyone’s hip to Tuck and Cofield and ‘Spags’ and Ware and Eli and Hixon and Coughlin. Boom, just like that, the Giants are going back to another Super Bowl.

Okay, look, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love the sudden and well deserved respect. I’m a believer. I think the Giants are a very good team with a great shot at the playoffs. But, before we anoint them, lets keep in mind that while they did kick the crap out of Cleveland the other night, they also gave up 237 kickoff return yards. Let’s keep in mind that after the 1st quarter, the Browns scrubs outscored the Giants scrubs 31 to 14. And, most of all, let’s keep in mind that this was simply one preseason game. So, where do the Giants really belong, the penthouse or the outhouse?

Maybe both and maybe neither. But, the really important thing is, because of their leadership — veterans, management and coaches — the Giants just don’t seem to care how they’re perceived or where they’re projected — and, ultimately, that kind of grit and character may be their greatest strength.

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