The are more successful football franchises, and many that are far worse, but there is no sports team that is harder to love than the New York Football Giants — because they make it so damn hard on us fans that it gives new meaning to “tough love.”
Yes, the Giants are among the “elite” squads of the NFL — those that have won three or more Super Bowls — but was there ever a team that had a tougher time earning that rank? Or a team whose bandwagon dragged more fans behind it like Indiana Jones trying to board that German truck in Raiders of the Lost Ark? It’s rough trying to ride the NYG bandwagon, because the team always seems to be determined to pitch its followers off around the next curve.
I understand that the Giants can’t win every game, and there’s no way they will lose every game — but it feels like 99 percent of their wins are last-second squeakers that sorely test a fan’s blood pressure and cardiac health. The Giants rarely blow out any opponent because it feels like the squad simply cannot resist making it… “interesting.” Got a 21-point lead? Go into prevent mode and led the other team get 17 back. Angling for a dramatic come-from-behind victory? Why strike with 35 seconds left when you can do it with just 15 ticks to go? Of the Giants six wins so far this season, five came via fourth-quarter comebacks. Cardiac Kids, indeed!
To put it simply, the Giants may win, but they like put their fans through the wringer first. I have a buddy who actually posted on his Facebook page early yesterday, before the Green Bay game, “I know the Giants are going to break my heart.” And, of course, they did.
But this week they had a lot of help, not only from the undefeated Green Bay Packers but also the officiating crew, who made some jaw-dropping calls that could most charitably be called “questionable.” I really wish that Giants head coach Tom Coughlin would take the fine associated with the NFL’s standing gag order and criticize the execrable officiating of that game. If it’s not already there, it feels like NFL officiating is barely a notch above the schoolyard dreck seen in the NBA. Somebody needs to point out the emperor has no clothes. I’m sure Jints fans would contribute to a fund to pay the NFL punishment for Coughlin. I know I would. The problem with complaining about the officiating is that it’s too easy for others to dismiss it as sour grapes, so it would really help if Pack honcho Mike McCarthy would come forward, too. Yeah, like I’m gonna hold my breath. If the Packers needed that much help from the zebras to beat a midlevel team, how good are they — I mean, really?
Don’t worry, this wasn’t any historic low, like 1978’s so-called “Miracle of the Meadowlands” — we heartsick Giants fans know it as “The Fumble” — and no one should lose a job over falling seconds short against the undefeated reigning world champions. In fact, this has renewed my fervor for the team with a new goal: winning the division just so the Jints can knock the Pack out of the playoffs! I don’t even care about the Super Bowl, I just want to see Aaron Rodgers and the Packers humbled.
PS: Now that I think about it, the N.Y. Rangers make it pretty tough on us, too…