Some teams in the NFL can have a small window of actual success where they have a team that's built to win now rather than later. And NFL Network has the New York Giants listed as one of those types of teams for the upcoming season.
Despite the fact that General Manager Jerry Reese builds the team through the draft and tries to spend wisely in free agency, Gil Brandt of NFL.com has listed the Giants as one of the top six teams in the league right now with "now or never" status regarding winning a Super Bowl. In the Giants' case, it would be winning another championship, as they won Super Bowl XLVI two seasons ago and have won two championships in the last six seasons.
The other team listed are the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Denver Broncos and Houston Texans; most of which have been playoff teams over the last two seasons but have some age on them.
Brandt lists age as a major factor as why the Giants made the list, along with an up-and-coming NFC East rival in the Washington Redskins.
It's hard to believe Eli Manning is 32 years old, but it's true; he's one year past the age at which quarterbacks generally begin to lose effectiveness. Now, Manning's career trajectory won't necessarily follow that rule, given that he's managed to escape serious injury thus far — healthier guys typically hit the wall later than oft-injured players — but his age is still worth considering. Manning, of course, isn't the only member of the Giants getting up there in age; the defense is also older. How much longer will Justin Tuck (30), Mathias Kiwanuka (30) and Corey Webster (31) be able to play at a high level? Meanwhile, Chris Snee, the leader of the offensive line, is 31, while guard Kevin Boothe is 30. And New York has bare-bones depth at tight end; position coach Mike Pope needs to pull a rabbit out of his hat. This franchise is extremely well-run, and the Giants usually find a way to get over the hump, but New York has important issues to consider in the near future. Looking ahead, the division race only figures to get more competitive as the Robert Griffin III-led Washington Redskins continue to establish themselves as contenders.
The Giants did draft Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft back in April, but Manning has been the model of consistency when it comes to health, as he has never missed a game since taking over as the team's starting quarterback in the middle of the 2004 season.
The offensive line though, does have a lot of age on them with Kevin Boothe, David Baas and Chris Snee all over the age of 30, which is why they selected Justin Pugh in the first round of the draft to rebuild an aging group; something Reese needed to address in order to protect Manning, even though he only took 19 sacks last season.
Aside from winning two out of the last six Super Bowls, the Giants have been a model of consistency and success since Reese took the reigns as the team's GM before 2007, as they have finished no worse than 8-8; the Giants are 58-38 during that time. You can even go further back to when Manning and head coach Tom Coughlin have taken the reigns of the team, as the worst the team has gone under Coughlin was his first season in 2004 at 6-10.
In 2013, the Giants will be looking to become the first team to ever play as the hosting team in their own Super Bowl, as Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium this coming February, as well as win their third championship in seven seasons.
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