Category Archives: Giants

New York Sports is a Dumpster Fire

Yesterday was one of the worst days to be a New York sports fan, if you’re a Yankees/Giants/Knicks fan like me. Obviously OBJ got traded for a less-than-stellar package, which sucks. The Giants are the new Jets, I’ve been saying it for awhile now but we’re the circus football team in town. I really couldn’t tell you what the plan is, between trading OBJ, letting Landon Collins walk for nothing, and holding onto Eli until he’s probably 47. The Jets signing Le’Veon sucks to see too, but at least the one redeeming quality about this Giants team is that we still have the best running back to play his home games at MetLife in Saquon Barkley.

As infuriating as it is being a Giants fan right now, and as much as us fans want Dave Gettleman run out of town by an angry mob (see below), that was far from the only reason yesterday was frustrating.

If Dave Gettleman is public enemy number one in New York at the moment, I have a pretty good idea who’s second on the list. I was minding my own business, doing some homework (I’m still a college student, somehow blogging once every few months isn’t gonna pay the bills), and watching The Michael Kay Show on YES. To my surprise, none other than good ol’ Jimmy Dolan joins the show. The worst owner in all of professional sports proceeds to do nothing besides make more of a fool of himself, and I found myself shaking my head at nearly every word that came out of the guy’s mouth. I mean, he banned a fan for life for telling him to sell the team, which literally EVERY Knicks fan wants him to do. When Kay asked whether a ban was necessary, or if the billionaire who owns multiple pro sports franchises could maybe have thick enough skin to let the guy back in The Garden, Dolan responded by asking if a fan who beat the shit out of another fan would be allowed back. Yeah, cuz telling the most incompetent owner of pro sports to sell the team is the same thing as publicly assaulting someone. The guy is an absolute fucking clown, and I’m really scared that he’ll scare free agents out of signing with the Knicks this summer.

The Knicks finally seem to have some kind of forward momentum. I believe they have the right coach in David Fizdale. They have some young talented guys in Dennis Smith, Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, and Alonzo Trier. They’ll have a top pick in the draft in June with the potential to take a guy like Zion, RJ Barrett, or Ja Morant. And they have enough cap space to sign two marquee free agents in a class that features KD, Kyrie, Kemba Walker, and more. But I just really have a hard time believing that despite everything we have going for us, and the chance to play in MSG, that any All-Star is coming to play for a James Dolan-run franchise. I can’t see it.

The Giants are a dumpster fire I don’t even wanna get into. They’ll be unwatchable for awhile. All we can do is hope whoever our next QB is (whenever that day may come) isn’t a bust. All I have right now is the Yankees, and that’s dependent on my prayers that Luis Severino’s shoulder is okay. Rutgers basketball plays in the Big Ten tournament tonight, and it’s actually wild that they’re the second-most competent team I root for right now. The Browns might be great next year, but at least I’m not from Cleveland.

P.S. There’s few things I love more than Yankees baseball, so if this ever happened I would be inconsolable, like Ron Burgundy crying in the phone booth after Baxter got punted-level crying.

 

Odell Beckham Jr.: The Second-Most Terrific New York Athlete Ever to Be Traded

Before I address the title of this article, please allow me a bit of preamble.

You might have seen the OBJ trade coming, but I did not.  Yes, there were trade rumors about Beckham at various times over the past two years, but, during this offseason, there was no considerable buzz about such a trade being a legitimate possibility.  Therefore, my brain is still processing the trade.  Do I like this trade or not?  I honestly do not know.

When I first heard about the Beckham trade, I was upset.  Odell Beckham Jr. is the most exciting player I have watched during my days as a Giants fan.  (I watched the tail end of LT’s career, so I did not truly get to experience his excitement.) OBJ is one of the best wide receivers in the NFL and one of the few players who can regularly turn his team’s down offensive day into a great offensive day with one or two plays.  Additionally, few players in the league make his teammates better than Beckham does.  The likes of Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard have been much more effective when defenses have to worry about covering the dynamic Beckham than when they do not.  For proof, watch footage from Weeks 1 and 2 of the 2017 seasons.  In Week 1, the Giants’ offense looked abysmal in Dallas, as Beckham sat on the sideline.  In Week 2, Beckham played a few plays, and the offense was much more electric on those plays than on the plays when Beckham did not play.  Simply put, one cannot easily replace Beckham’s on-field production.

However, we know that Beckham has caused chemistry issues with the Giants.  While T.O. and Antonio Brown waited several years in their NFL careers before causing off-field problems, Beckham started in Year 2.  We experienced his freak-out against Josh Norman in Year 2; the boat trip, kicking net, and comment that he does not care about his personal fouls in Year 3; his trip to France in Year 4; and his “Li’l Wayne” interview in Year 5.  I have lived on this planet long enough to know that trends are much more likely to continue than to stop.  Plus, if we know about all of the problems I have mentioned, what else is happening behind the scenes?  Nevertheless, we know that these issues are going to continue and will likely grow.  The Giants clearly felt that we had reached the point where the benefit of keeping him (all the good stuff I listed before) had fallen below the cost (all the chemistry stuff).

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Image via New York Post

Therefore, I commend the Giants for picking up a first-round pick this year, a third-rounder next year, and a solid safety in Jabrill Peppers.  The only question that remains for the Giants is “Where do they go from here?”  Did the Beckham trade happen because Eli told Dave Gettleman that the QB cannot win with Beckham’s huge ego and personality hovering over the team?  Possibly.  Did Gettleman pull the trigger because he had decided that it is time for a rebuild and that the Giants should either trade for Josh Rosen or draft Dwayne Haskins?  Hopefully.  Time will tell.  That said, you can read a million analyses about this trade on other sites.  I want to pivot now to the tangential topic referenced in this article’s title.

The New York Giants have traded a top-flight wide receiver in the prime of his career.  This is not a common occurrence in New York.  Teams in this metropolitan are usually big spenders and rarely trade megastars in their primes.  As a result, I have spent the past few hours thinking about how many players better than Beckham or of bigger star power than his have been traded away from New York teams in the primes of their careers, and my unofficial research places Beckham firmly in the #2 position on this list.  For now, I will keep you in suspense as to whom I have selected for #1 on the list.

When coming up with this list, remember that I am focusing solely on players who were traded from New York teams.  Thus, though Darryl Strawberry was an elite outfielder in 1990 (37 homers, 108 RBI: huge numbers back then), the fact that the Dodgers then signed him to a free-agent contract makes him ineligible for this list.  Similarly, John Tavares racked up 621 points in 9 years with the Islanders and also had a big hand in the team’s first playoff-series win (over Florida in 2016) since 1993….but the Maple Leafs signed Tavares as a free agent.  Thus, he too is ineligible for the list.

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Image via Los Angeles Times

In 2011, the Mets traded Carlos Beltran to the Giants (for Zack Wheeler), but Beltran was past his prime.  Plus, even in his prime, was he ever a candidate for “Best Outfielder in the Game”, as Beckham has been considered the best wide receiver in the NFL?  I would say not.  The Knicks once traded Patrick Ewing, and the Nets once traded Jason Kidd.  Both are those are all-time great players for their respective franchises, and both led their teams to two NBA Finals appearances.  However, both of them were also in the twilights of their careers when they were traded.  Neither player was involved with any “Best current player at his position” discussions when they were traded.  You could also make the analogous comments about Rangers defenseman Brian Leetch. Many people like to cite the Mets’ trade of Nolan Ryan as “the worst trade ever”, and that is a fair argument in hindsight.  The Mets did give up a guy who would go on to strike out 5000 batters, pitch 7 no-hitters, and pitch at a high level for more than 20 years.  However, when the Mets traded Ryan (and two other players) for Fregosi, Ryan was a decent-at-best pitcher whose control kept him from being anything great.  Thus, at the time of the 1971 trade, people did not think something monumental had happened.

The way I see it, there are only two players in Beckham’s territory.  One of those players is Darrelle Revis.  When the Jets traded Revis to Tampa Bay in 2013 for a 2013 first-round pick, he was considered the premier cornerback in football.  “Revis Island” was still a “thing” at that time.  However, there are two reasons why I put Beckham above Revis on my list.  First, Revis missed almost all of the 2012 season due to a torn knee ligament.  When an excellent NFL player suffers a major injury in his fifth season, it is natural for us to wonder if that player’s days as a star have come to an end.  (In hindsight, this was the case with Revis.  Revis was a solid player the next two years with Tampa and New England, but he was not the elite player he had been.)  Secondly, even if we ignore the injury factor, tie goes to the wide receiver over the shutdown cornerback. The receiver who makes big play after big play has much more star power than the corner who prevents the ball from ever coming his way.  Therefore, I consider Beckham to be a slightly better player and bigger star than Revis was at the times of their respective trades.

As a result, we are left with only one player dealt from a New York team when a bigger star and better player than Beckham is.  That player is “The Franchise” or “Tom Terrific”.  That player is Tom Seaver.  Unfortunately, we have recently learned the news that the greatest Met of all time now suffers from dementia.  However, many who watched Seaver pitch say that he is the best pitcher they have ever seen.  The guy dominated for the Mets from 1967 through 1977, as he was regularly among the league leaders in wins, strikeouts, ERA, complete games, and shutouts.  He had been the face of the 1969 “Miracle Mets”, and he remained their biggest star through 1977, when the Mets had fallen on tough times.  Sure, Beckham is a mega-star now, but many people in this world are mega-stars.  In 1977, when most people had no more than 7 TV channels, no computers, and minimal telephone capabilities; there were fewer mega-stars.  In this area, Tom Seaver was a mega-star.

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Image via NBC Sports

You might be thinking, “Well, he had already pitched 10 years when the Mets traded him to the Reds in 1977.  Wasn’t he on the decline?”  Not at all.  Seaver was pitching at a high level, and stayed at that level until roughly the time when the Mets brought him back from Cincy in 1983.  From what I have heard from my parents and other huge Mets fans of that day, nothing compares to the Seaver trade.  Most Giants fans agree that OBJ is one of the best receivers in the league, but plenty of Giants fans can see why the Giants made the trade.  Agree with the trade or not; the transaction is defensible.  That was not the case with Seaver.  Seaver was the only guy for Mets fans to hang their hats on, and the Mets traded him.  Fans were devastated and saw no silver lining in the move.

Granted, a part of me does wonder how the trade would have been received today.  After all, the 1977 Mets were a bad team who traded a top-flight player for four prospects.  No, none of those prospects materialized into anything great, but it is a regular occurrence today for bad teams to trade stars for prospects.  In 1977, there were fewer entertainment options, so I think that fans were more passionate about having their teams put together the best teams possible – the future be damned.  I have to admit that, while I am a big-time Devils fan, I have not watched them too much over the last month as I know that this year’s disappointing team is better off tanking.  Fans of all sports now realize that bad teams are usually better off tanking, but it is easier for us to “trust the process” in 2019 when we can binge-watch “Schitt’s Creek” and Harlan Coben’s “Safe” to pass the time during a bad Devils season.  Yes, I highly recommend both of those shows.  Ideally, the Devils will land the top pick in the draft, bring in Jack Hughes, and play at a level next year that makes me want to watch all 82 games again.

However, in 1977, what were you going to do to pass the time during a bad Mets summer?  There is only so much “American Bandstand” one can handle.  Therefore, Mets fans were going to be much more loyal to a bad 1977 team than they were to bad 2017 and 2018 teams. Thus, Tom Seaver remained a huge star, albeit on a bad team.  In fact, I would argue that Seaver was a bigger star relative to the 1977 sports world than Beckham is to the modern sports world.  If we could calculate WAR for star power, Seaver’s 1977 star-power WAR would be well above Beckham’s.  Plus, Beckham is one of the best current wide receivers, but Tom Seaver is one of the best pitchers of all time.  Big difference there.

Therefore, I consider the OBJ trade to be the second-most monumental trade of a New York athlete.  The trade of Tom Terrific ranks #1 on the list.  Let us hope that the Giants make more out of their two acquired draft picks and Jabrill Peppers than the Mets made out of the four prospects they obtained.

To the Remaining Eli Supporters, I Ask, “What Would It Take…?”

Hello, all.  It has been nearly two full months since I last wrote a post, and I know there has been a huge void in your lives.  TMZ has been all over me, trying to find scandalous reasons why I have not been posting.  No, nobody punted my dog Rex off a bridge.  The truth is much less exciting than that.  My wife and I moved into a house at the end of August, and it turns out that moving into a house while starting the school year (as a teacher) means that I have not had too much spare time.

Now that we have put that item to bed, I figured what better way to return to this blog than with my favorite topic: “Eli Manning”?  If you recall, I wrote two Eli posts last year – one in which I suggested that his time was running out and one in which I discussed what I considered to be the negative overreaction to his benching.  Of course, I was tempted to write a third about how I thought it was unfair that the Giants ultimately threw Ben McAdoo under the bus for the matter (although I generally did not like McAdoo’s coaching for other reasons).  I ultimately decided not to write the third post, as I would have come across as crazy writing three “Eli” posts during one season.  However, if I write a post this season, I would be sitting at 1.5 “Eli” posts per season over last year and this year.  That does not make me crazy, right?

Allow me to proceed…As we sit here today, the Giants sport a 1-7 record.  Given that I strongly wanted the Giants to draft a quarterback this past April; if you had told April-me that the Giants would pass on drafting a QB and would be 1-7 halfway through the 2018 NFL season, April-me would have assumed that November-me would be livid.  Fortunately, that is not the case.  Granted, it stinks being 1-7, but at least I was able to practice this situation last year.  (Not to mention, the 2012-2014 seasons gave me pretty good practice as well, even if those seasons were not quite “1-7 start”-level bad”)

No, the surprise to April-me would be that I am not mad that the Giants did not draft a quarterback.  Saquon Barkley is clearly one of the best running backs in the game, and none of the quarterbacks drafted are setting the world on fire.  Do not get me wrong – It is likely that at least one of the quarterbacks will develop into a great quarterback, but that has not happened yet.  If Sam Darnold were playing like rookie-year Andrew Luck, I would be beside myself on a daily basis….but he is not doing that.

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Image via USA Today

Therefore, the Giants now have the chance to set things right. They can either draft a quarterback with their high 2019 draft pick, or they can use the pick to build their core (hopefully using the pick on an offensive lineman) while picking up a veteran quarterback for next season.  I thought that the Giants should have signed Teddy Bridgewater last offseason.  He would have been a low-risk, high-reward player who would have pushed Eli.  However, the Giants astoundingly decided that, because they had benched Eli in December, it made sense to provide him with the least competition of any of the 32 starting NFL quarterbacks.  (Alex Tanney, Kyle Lauletta, and the since-released Davis Webb comprised Eli’s “competition”.)  Well, the Giants can right that wrong this coming offseason, whether with Bridgewater or someone else of that level.

The nice thing for me to see is that, after a second-straight deplorable season (OK, half-season in this case), many more fans are coming around on the idea that it is time from Eli.  That is comforting.  At the same time though, there are still fans out there who think Eli is not a problem.  The majority of these fans blame everything on the Giants’ offensive line, and that leads me to the main idea of this post.  To these fans, I ask, “What would it take for you to think that Eli is done?”

Honestly, what would it take?  Sure, the Giants’ offensive line is bad, but Eli supporters make it seem like Eli’s offensive line is a million times worse than any other offensive line in the league.  Eli’s supporters say that, because Eli is an immobile quarterback, it is imperative that the Giants drastically improve their line.  Well, the line this year is slightly better than it was last year.  Nate Solder has disappointed, and Will Hernandez is a work in progress, but the line is a little better than last year than when Ereck Flowers was prominently involved.  How much improvement does the offensive line need, in order for Eli to become even a mediocre quarterback, at this point?

When Eli’s supporters argue about him being an immobile quarterback, they have the argument backwards.  Every quarterback in the league other than Tom Brady is more mobile than Eli.  Therefore, it is Eli’s lack of mobility that is the big problem to address.  While the venerable Rob Sartori would know more about the Seahawks’ O-Line than I do, I am pretty sure that the group is nothing amazing.  At the same time, Russell Wilson’s mobility makes it such that the line is less of a detriment than it would be with Eli behind it.  Russell Wilson is generally considered a mobile quarterback.  However, even quarterbacks who we do not think of as mobile – Ryan Fitzpatrick, Philip Rivers, Big Ben (in his advanced age), to name a few – still show a bit more mobility than Eli does.  At a minimum, those QBs can take the necessary step or two after the snap to dance out of pressure.  That is all a quarterback needs to be able to do to keep the offensive line from being a complete liability.

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Image via NY Post

Unfortunately, Eli cannot do that.  For every legitimate case of Eli being sacked immediately after the snap (thus of no fault of his own), there is also a case of Eli either stepping into a circle of defenders (and being sacked) or holding the ball for too long while he gets sacked deep behind the line of scrimmage.  Eli’s defenders say that these last two scenarios are not his fault because Eli is so shell-shocked at this point.  Well, whether it is his fault or not, the fact that remains that Eli is one of the two least-mobile quarterbacks (with Tom Brady) in the league, and he is the most shell-shocked.  Therefore, if you were to take the backup quarterback on any non-Giants team in the league and have him start on the Giants, one would likely see a more mobile and less shell-shocked QB.  Thus, one would likely see a more productive Giants QB.

It seems a heck of a lot easier to replace the Giants’ quarterback than it is to replace the entire infrastructure around Eli.  Saying that the line is the problem and that Eli is not is akin to saying that the problem with having a flip phone is that there are not computers with Internet capability 10 feet apart across the whole planet.  “If only there were computers everywhere, my lack of a smart phone would not be a problem anymore!”  That is the logic I hear from Eli’s supporters.  In a league in which every quarterback drafted nowadays has at least a modicum of mobility, maybe it is a bad idea that the Giants hold on to such an immobile quarterback.

Additionally, I hear people say that, when Eli has time to throw a good ball, he can still throw as well as anyone.  Stop it.  Even in Eli’s prime, he was never the most accurate passer.  Yes, he threw the most clutch/accurate pass in NFL history when he threw the bomb to Mario Manningham in Super Bowl XLVI, but most of his career has seen plenty of wounded ducks and plenty of passes behind big receivers like Plaxico Burress and Hakeem Nicks that the receivers were able to reel in.

I also hear people talk about Eli’s great game against Philly last December, his strong game in Houston in September, and his great finish in Carolina this October.  Some use these games as proof that he can still be great, but I see this as the ultimate case of confirmation bias.  Any quarterback this side of Nathan Peterman can have a few great games in the modern NFL; the league is set up for QBs to dominate.  Therefore, a quarterback is judged on how few bad games he has, more so than on how many good games he has.  Josh McCown had probably 5 or 6 very good games last year, and he has been on the bench this whole season.  Ryan Fitzpatrick has a few very good games seemingly every year but can never hold a starting job.  Those two career backups are held down because we have seen too many bad games out of them, yet Eli’s supporters refuse to hold the same standard to Eli.

Thus I ask again to our Eli supporters, “What would it take for you to say it’s over?”  Do you need to see three-consecutive seasons of three or fewer wins?  Do you need to see Eli be sacked 100 times in a season?  Do the Giants need to trade for Andrew Luck?  Do you need to see the Giants put nine players on the offensive line to block, so that Eli finally has enough time?  What would it take?

Lastly, for copyright purposes, I should come clean that I first heard this “What would it take?” premise when used by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.  He is a Republican who was using this question to criticize Republicans who refused to condemn then-presidential-candidate Donald Trump for anything.  Thus, since I am citing a Republican who is criticizing other Republicans, hopefully those two components cancel each other out…and you – Republican or Democrat – are ok with me using the line.

Giants Fans Ruined Their Chances of Moving On From Eli Manning

The Giants have started this year worse than anticipated, and their dreadful past two seasons were highly unexpected. I remember at the beginning of the 2017 campaign, they were placed at #2 overall in Bleacher Report’s NFL Power Rankings. Later that same year, they had the #2 overall pick in the draft.

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Most of it can be blamed on Ben McAdoo, who was a dumpster fire of a football coach. I could probably have thrown my mom out there on the sidelines and she could’ve won 4 or 5 games. And she still asks me every year when the Seahawks are going to be in the Super Bowl. They’re not Mom, let it go and let’s move on.

The other percentage of failure can be blamed on injuries, the offensive line, defensive inefficiencies, and of course, Eli Manning.

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Image via Radio.com

I have really never seen anybody personify the quote “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become a villain” more than Eli Manning. I mean, this guy was a king. He was the face of the NY Giants. Manning beat the greatest quarterback of all-time TWICE in the Superbowl in miraculous, comeback fashion. He had an MVP caliber season in 2015 and was/is on his way to being a Hall of Famer.

But in Week 13 of 2017, McAdoo benched the Giants’ legend, and it caused an uproar throughout the league…especially in New York. Fans were absolutely outraged and horrified that anybody could blame Manning for the Giants atrocity of a season.

One year later though, it looks like McAdoo was just ahead of the curve.

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Sorry for all The Dark Knight references

He had the guts to bench a guy that was underperforming and didn’t work for his offense, much like Shumur did with Erik Flowers earlier this year. Problem was, nobody gives two shits about Flowers. But people care about Eli Manning, and McAdoo’s choice got him fired (and so did being a really bad football coach, don’t forget that). Giants fans defended Eli, got him his job back, and preached that he was capable of leading them to the Promised Land one more time with the right pieces. The front office listened to them.

Now here they are one year later, sitting at 1-7 with Saquon Barkley in the backfield instead of having Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, or Josh Rosen under center. Giants fans are screaming at the organization and at Eli for screwing their season up, but I think they have to put some of the blame on themselves. I find it wild that Giants fans were in agony at the fact that Eli was benched last year, and those same fans are calling for him to be benched this year. Yes, there are some different situations now, but what has really changed about Eli?

You have to imagine that the front office is confused. When the season was ending last year, the fanbase was saying “How could you do that to Eli? He still has talent, this isn’t his fault. He’s our guy”. Then they’re like “Okay, sure, let’s take Barkley then”. Then the Giant fans are like “Wooaahhh, wait, Eli’s not good anymore. We need a quarterback for the future”.

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It’s like when a girl says she’s fine. She’s not fine, and she wants a franchise quarterback. Don’t listen to her.

To all those people who wanted the quarterback of the future, I say that you had your chance to move on. But when that Week 13 benching came, everyone was stuck in the past and didn’t want to accept the fact that maybe their hero had overstayed his welcome.

It is time for a new quarterback in New York. Manning isn’t the right guy anymore, but I’d be extremely shocked if you saw somebody else under center this year. The Giants are losing a lot right now, but one thing they can’t afford to lose is their loyal fans who still want to see Eli ride off into the sunset like so many other New York legends have done.

 

Anyone Else Nervous for the Giants’ Pick Tomorrow Night?

The day us Giants fans have been anticipating basically since the Week 4 loss to the Bucs that dropped them to 0-4 is almost upon us. The NFL Draft’s first round is tomorrow night, and the G-Men hold the #2 overall pick. This is the first time since 1981 that the Giants have picked second, when they took legendary linebacker Lawrence Taylor. They haven’t even picked in the top five since 2004 when they took Philip Rivers, who they ultimately traded to the Chargers for a quarterback by the name of Eli Manning. Now, after a 3-13 season in which we saw the Giants fire their coach, bench Manning for a game, and lose star receiver Odell Beckham for the season to a fractured ankle, this draft pick determines the direction of their franchise. Do they take one of the draft’s top quarterbacks and begin to prepare for life after Eli? Or do they take an offensive weapon like Saquon Barkley and give it one last shot with Eli? Let’s weigh the options.

Draft a Quarterback

The four top QB names that are being thrown around in mock drafts are Wyoming’s Josh Allen, UCLA’s Josh Rosen, USC’s Sam Darnold, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. Three of these four will be on the board when the Giants pick, but it is unclear which three, as the Browns have been linked to all of them besides Rosen. Darnold is considered the most polished of the four, though he had an underwhelming final season at USC. Allen is more of a project, but his 6’5 frame and rocket arm are the physical skill set teams dream about. Rosen had an impressive college career, but is considered by many (including myself) to be a bit too outspoken to play in New York. Give me an Eli Manning type, a guy who will do his job in silence. A quiet competitor, a real warrior that will get up from the hardest hits. Rosen’s Cali kid vibe won’t fly in New York, especially if he struggles. Despite what I just said about wanting an Eli Manning type, I also love Mayfield. Sure, he’s quite outspoken too, but in a more fiery, “I’m going to do whatever it takes to bury my opponent” kind of way. If you didn’t enjoy watching Mayfield play, you don’t like fun. He gets a lot of Johnny Manziel comparisons, which can obviously be taken the wrong way. But I think his height and his past mistakes are played up too much, and he has real NFL potential. Realistically, I think the Giants take Rosen or Darnold, if he’s available. But man, I would love to see Baker in blue.

Draft Saquon Barkley

My brain tells me to take a quarterback, or trade down and get a huge package of picks. My heart tells me take Saquon Barkley. I’ve been posting #SuckForSaquon for months now. This guy is absolutely electric to watch play, and with the recent success of rookie running backs like Ezekiel Elliott and Leonard Fournette, it’s not inconceivable that he can be an instant boost for the entire offense. Yes, the Giants offensive line is still weak, but they’ve already started to make improvements with the signing of Nate Solder. The Barkley connection can’t be denied, with many mock drafts linking him to the G-Men. It would be a risky pick, but I would love to keep the Jersey kid at home.

Draft Bradley Chubb

Another option is to draft on the defensive side of the ball. After trading Jason Pierre-Paul this offseason, the G-Men could opt to take the draft’s best pass-rusher. Chubb broke Mario Williams’ sack record at NC State, and his draft stock has been rising steadily over the past few weeks. It wouldn’t be nearly as flashy of a move as taking Barkley or a quarterback, but an elite pass rusher is one of the NFL’s most coveted assets.

Trade Down

If the Giants decide to trade down, there will surely be a large number of suitors. This is a quarterback-heavy draft, and many teams such as the Bills or Cardinals could be looking to trade up and grab either Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield, or Allen. Preferably, the Giants trade to a spot they can take Notre Dame OL Quenton Nelson, but that may be a long shot. Although trading down is easily the least sexy option of the bunch, it needs to at least be considered given the package it would command.

 

Last season was not fun for Giants fans. This pick could very well determine the direction of the franchise for the next five years. In Gettleman we trust.

Pros and Cons of Rooting for Either Team in Super Bowl LII as a Giants fan

Well that couldn’t have gone any worse, could it? In the AFC championship game, the Jaguars almost did what America so desperately wanted and knocked off the Patriots. Unfortunately, almost is they key word in that sentence, and Tom Brady & company came back from a ten point fourth quarter deficit to secure their eighth AFC Championship in the Brady & Belichick era. I wanted more than anything for this guy to be in the Super Bowl,

but the Football Gods decided Brady would represent the AFC for the third time in the last four years. This tweet I came across last night is also absolutely insane

I mean, that’s unreal. For a league that prides itself on parity and having everyone be relatively competitive, having only four quarterbacks represent an entire conference over a 15-year span is bananas. Regardless, if you had said at any point in the last year that Brady would be an AFC champ again, no one would blame you.

So as a Giants fan, or really any team, obviously the Patriots winning was not what you wanted. Rooting against the Patriots is like hitting on a girl that’s out of your league. You know how it’s gonna end the whole time, but then they give you a little glimmer of hope that maybe it’ll be different this time, only for it to end exactly how you originally thought. Moral of the story? The Patriots will always win and I will always get curved by girls but that is neither here nor there.

In the NFC game, you had the Vikings coming off one of the craziest finishes to a game probably ever, against the Eagles who have been thriving in the underdog role ever since MVP hopeful Carson Wentz tore his ACL. Although many people counted them out from that moment, “Big Dick” Nick Foles has more than risen to the challenge and has now put the Birds in the Super Bowl. I feel like I was pretty much in the same boat as most people thinking it would be a close game. The Vikings had momentum (and maybe a bit better of a team) on their side, the Eagles had home-field advantage. Well, that’s not what happened at all, and the Eagles handed the Vikings what my housemate and resident BTB hockey blogger Philly Phil would call a “Bully Beatdown.”

So us Giants fans are stuck in a pickle here. Super Bowl LII, Pats vs. Birds. Who do we root for? Let’s weigh our options.

The Case to Root For the Patriots

1. We’re Conditioned to Block Out Their Wins at This Point

Obviously no one likes it when the Patriots win. But you just know it’s coming at this point. If Brady wins another Super Bowl in two weeks, does it really matter anymore? The guy already has five. Not trying to take anything away from him because obviously every Super Bowl is an outstanding accomplishment, but you could tell me Brady’s gonna win twelve Super Bowls at this point and I’d believe you. Realizing the Patriots are probably gonna win the Super Bowl is the same as knowing the Knicks will be garbage every year. At a certain point it happens so often you just become numb to it.

2. Eli Would Still be the Only QB to Ever Beat Brady on the Big Stage

I’ve let it be known before that every sports highlight is better with Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On set to it, and this video is no exception. Brady scoffing at the notion that the Giants defense could hold the Pats’ offense in check at the beginning is also a great touch. But every Giants fan obviously knows how incredible it was to win those games (XLII especially, not to say XLVI wasn’t awesome but ruining their perfect season was the cherry on top of that game), and it’s something only Giants fans can say. Eli Manning is the only one to have beaten the Greatest QB of All-Time in the Super Bowl, and he did it twice. I’m no mathematician, but I know that if Brady is considered the GOAT, and Eli beat him in the championship game twice, then Eli must actually be the GOAT. No, I’m just kidding, but every Giants fan knows the pride that comes with saying your team is the only one to beat Brady on Super Bowl Sunday, and it’s the one thing that somewhat softens the blow whenever you see Brady get up on that podium and hoist the Lombardi.

3. The Eagles are Our Bigger Rivals

Sure, the G-Men have played the Pats twice in the Super Bowl. But we won both times. They’re in the AFC, we’re in the NFC, therefore we only play once every four years. It’s the same reason I don’t really consider the Jets our rivals. Well, that, and the fact that they are one of the saddest excuses for a franchise in North American sports (see also: Browns, Mets, Marlins.)

But we play the Eagles twice a year. They’re our division rivals. They’ve given us some heartbreaking defeats lately. Remember this one from when we actually still believed we could be a functioning football team in 2017?

Stayed with the Celine Dion there, don’t really know why. But that was a BRUTAL moment for us Giants fans. And who could forget this?

To this day, you can say “Fuck Matt Dodge” at any Giants tailgate/game and surely get a bunch of fans agreeing with you. So given everything I just said, how could you root for the Eagles?

1. It’s Still the Fucking Patriots

There’s still no shot anyone with a brain wants to see the Patriots win the Super Bowl. These are the same guys that got caught with Spygate and Deflategate. Their fans are insufferable. They win literally every year. The last thing anyone wants to see is them win another Super Bowl, regardless of who they’re playing.

2. I Hate Boston Sports Much More Than Philly Fans

I’m a baseball guy first. More specifically, a Yankees guy first. You know who our main rival is? The Boston Red Sox. In fact, that’s perhaps the best rivalry in professional sports. You know who else Red Sox fans root for? The Patriots. Any success for Boston sports makes me sick. Pictures like this showing how much recent success they have make me want to vomit.

The Patriots win every year. The Red Sox have won three since ending the Curse of the Bambino in 2004. The Celtics may be the best team in the East this year. And the Bruins sit near the top of the NHL standings. Seeing these fans get to enjoy yet another parade doesn’t get any easier, even if seeing Brady hold the Lombardi does.

3. What if it Never Ends?

I stand behind what I said that I’m pretty much immune to the Patriots themselves winning Super Bowls. I’ve seen them win five, what’s six or seven or even twelve gonna change? But what if it’s even more than that? What if Brady plays until he’s 80? Super Bowl 100 rolls around and they’re just still winning every single year? Call me crazy but that’s the way it’s looking at this point, and if an Eagles win could do one thing it would at least slow them down for now.

Conclusion: I came into this blog thinking I was gonna root for the Eagles. As started writing, however, the Patriots started to make more sense. However, I’ve come to a conclusion that I think every Giants fan can get on board with: drink a lot of beer on Super Bowl Sunday, hope your box pool numbers hit, and watch Saquon Barkley highlights on your phone in hopes that he’ll be a Giant in a few months. I can definitely get behind that plan.

What I Want to See in Sports in 2018

When you look back on 2017, not just what happened in sports but as a whole, I think I speak for everyone when I say the only logical reaction is “what the actual fuck just happened?” Definitely a year to remember, but one you wish you could forget. In terms of sports it was certainly an eventful year for my teams. The Yankees were supposed to miss the playoffs and came up one win short of the World Series, the Giants were supposed to contend for a Super Bowl and ended up with the #2 pick in the draft, the Knicks almost let Phil Jackson trade Porzingis only to fire him a week later, and Rutgers tried. On a day when everyone is making “New Year’s Resolutions,” I made a New Year’s wish list for sports because it’s more fun to ask for things out of your control to happen (no one gives a shit that you swear you’re gonna start going to the gym again Brad, get off Twitter.) Obviously it would be easy/unrealistic to say I want all my teams to win championships, so I got a little more creative with it. Here’s what I hope 2018 has in store in the world of sports.

The Patriots Lose in the Super Bowl

No, I don’t just want the Patriots to not win the Super Bowl. I want them to make it there, and then lose. Why? Because love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the big game is always better when the Pats are in it. Was it horrible to see them win last year in the best comeback/worst collapse in Super Bowl history? Obviously, but you can’t deny that it was an amazing game. Every Super Bowl Tom Brady and company have been in has been extremely entertaining (especially 42 & 46 in my opinion.) Give me Brady throwing a game-ending pick six in overtime or something. Fun for the whole family!

Duke Loses in the Final Four

The same logic applies here as my Patriots argument. I would love to see nothing more than Grayson Allen’s Ted Cruz-looking ass get embarrassed by 40 by North Carolina on national TV. March Madness is the best sporting event there is (don’t @ me), and seeing Duke lose just makes it that much sweeter.

The Mets Pitching Staff Stays Healthy

Hear me out on this one. I’m a Yankee fan, but I would love to see this happen for two reasons. First of all, as a baseball fan, I would love to see what a healthy staff of Syndergaard, DeGrom, Matz, Harvey, Wheeler staff could do in a full season. And second, if they Yankees could still beat the crap out of those guys, it would shut up every annoying Mets fan I know.

The Giants Pick a Franchise-Altering Player

I’m torn on who I want them to take at number two. I love the idea of Saquon Barkley in the backfield, but if you legitimately think Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield could be your next franchise quarterback, how do you pass that up? Knowing the Giants, they could also trade back and take a lineman later on, but they would need to get a substantial return to do that. All I know is that this is hopefully the last time they get a draft pick this high for a long time, so they need to choose wisely.

Rutgers Upsets a Big Ten Team at Home

I’ve wanted to storm the field since I got to Rutgers. Unfortunately, the football team has not exactly done a great job at beating their Big Ten opponents recently, or even losing by a reasonable margin for that matter. But after storming the court after the basketball team beat Seton Hall a few weeks ago, all I know is I need to experience that at High Point Solutions Stadium before I graduate. (The fact that 2018 will be my last go-around of tailgates is like the Sunday Scaries times a million, by the way.)

The Yankees Win the World Series

All right sue me, we came within a game of getting there last year and we just traded for Giancarlo freaking Stanton. You’re damn right I want a World Series this year.

Let’s hope 2018 is a year to remember for the right reasons. All of us here at Below the Belt are ecstatic to bring you another year of average blogs.