In what has become routine, expected and in some cases accepted, the New York Giants are once again facing an offseason of doubt. Many pundits have already written them off, claiming their chances to repeat as Super Bowl champions are slim to none. As has become the norm, focus has shifted to the other NFC East teams and how talented they are, or in the case of the Washington Redskins, how much they've improved.
The confetti had not yet hit the ground following Super Bowl XLVI before talk began about how 2012 would be the year of the Philadelphia Eagles -which, in the mind of Michael Vick, will be the first step towards a dynasty- or how Tony Romo is the premiere quarterback in the NFC East and will inevitably lead the Dallas Cowboys back to prominence. Meanwhile, in New York, the headlines have centered around the arrival of Tim Tebow and how how two quarterbacks with bottom five total QBR's will eventually find themselves in a controversy.
Ho-hum says Big Blue and their legions of fans. Welcome to the land of the Giants.
The football "experts" that talk of the Giants' long odds to repeat aren't saying anything that isn't obvious. In the history of the NFL, only seven teams have ever repeated as Super Bowl champions, with the Pittsburgh Steelers having done it twice. Thus, it's a pretty safe bet to assume the Giants won't do it. However, it's not nearly as impossible as some are making it out to be.
On the surface, the 9-7 New York Giants were, technically, the "worst" team to ever win a Super Bowl. Couple that will the unlikely odds of repeating and another quiet offseason from General Manager Jerry Reese, and the line of thinking for these highly paid football analysts becomes clear: there is no need to take a leap of faith, or even use any actual logic, when the odds don't favor a repeat. Instead, take the safe bet and maybe, just maybe, look smart when the season shakes out.
Alas, games are not won or lost and paper, and what happened a year ago will not influence what happens now. The fact that the Giants won the Super Bowl last season in no way, shape or form impacts what will happen in 2012 … it just puts them in a position none of the other 31 teams are in: a chance for two in a row. In other words, they're halfway there and now face 1 in 32 odds of winning it again – the same odds everyone else in this league has going into the season.
Another common argument for why the Giants will not, and cannot repeat in 2012 is their lack of a free agent splash in the offseason. Sound familiar? It should, because it's like a broken record that's set to repeat every year like horrible elevator music. Reese is routinely criticized for not doing enough to patch holes on his team, but very rarely praised for his ability to keep and maintain continuity – a strength, not a weakness, that is often overlooked in today's NFL.
Moreover, it's quickly forgotten by National media how devastated the Giants were by injury in 2011. And while the team may not have signed a plethora of free agents, they will have a small army of extremely talented players returning in 2012 to bolster what is already a very talented depth chart. Players like Terrell Thomas, Marvin Austin and Domenik Hixon will all be back and making an immediate impact, while other players like Clint Sintim, Justin Tryon and Bruce Johnson will return and push for jobs and add depth. Of course, that doesn't even take into consideration the health of Will Beatty, Osi Umenyiora, Mark Herzlich, Justin Tuck and David Diehl – all players who suffered through some lingering injuries a year ago.
Meanwhile, their 32nd ranked run offense only has one direction to go, and that's up. The addition of David Wilson, an explosive threat capable of breaking every play open, will likely go a long way in improving what was a futile run game. So long as Ahmad Bradshaw can remain healthy himself, the new-look ground attack should see significant improvement in 2012.
Then there's the obvious: Tom Coughlin and his staff are arguably the best the league have to offer. His players are going to be prepared for every single game and every single scenario within a game.
Oh yeah, there's also that guy named Eli Manning. You know, the one who gives his team a chance to win every single week.
At the end of the day (royalties to Antrel Rolle, who will also see significant improvement in 2012 now that he no longer has to play nickel corner), the New York Football Giants are built to win … right now. Not three years from now, not when they find another franchise player or find another coach, but this instant. They are as talented and deep as any team in the league, and are run by men -Jerry Reese upstairs in the office, and Tom Coughlin down on the field- who have only one goal in mind: Win. Win. Win. And win right now.
If the 2012 New York Giants can avoid the same injury bug that nearly crippled them a year ago, the odds to repeat as Super Bowl champions are not nearly as long as the talking heads would have you believe. Yes, it is difficult to win the Lombardi Trophy in an extremely competitive league, and no, it will not be easy. But of all the team to win the Super Bowl since the last repeat champions (New England Patriots in 2005/2006), Big Blue appears to be the most talented and most motivated.
Their journey from a year ago, at least in their minds, is not over yet. Super Bowl XLVI was merely step one, and they remain "All In" for Super Bowl XLVII.
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