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Faces of the 2019 New York Giants

It’s hard to believe that the 2019 New York Giants NFL season will be kicking off in just a few short weeks. The off-season has proven to be… well, interesting at minimum. With the forfeitures of Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins came the additions of Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence. And those transactions and draft picks are just the beginning. But it is where “holes” remain where the magic will happen, determining the storied future of the franchise.

This year, the Giants are poised to present a new set of faces to represent the club. “New,” used with relativity. Some of these studs have already proven themselves with the team in a variety of different ways. Others might just emerge from the rough, surprising us as the regular season approached. But it seems there are always those core standouts; the guys whose action shots will soar across the screens of our televisions and stadiums before and after the commercials commence, embedded in shiny graphics and punch words, riling up the spectators.

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The Mara Family Dynasty: A Semi-Legendary Giants Legacy

In his 1972 novel Semi-Tough, the late Dan Jenkins imagines a version of the New York Giants that are no longer owned by the Mara family. Billy Clyde Puckett, the star running back of the G-Men, takes us with him through the week leading up to their Super Bowl appearance against the New York Jets. He introduces us to a slew of fictional misfits (his best friends), as well as his team… including a quarterback whose last name is Manning? Hmm…

Clearly, the book was far ahead of its time on many accounts. And while it is a work of fiction, it also presents a semi-accurate portrayal of American football in the late 1960s and early ‘70s. Puckett uses the phrase “semi-” as a prefix not meaning “partly,” but “majorly,” which, by the end of the tale, shows an attempted humility in the midst of the crass satire. As our narrator and his team prepare for their championship matchup on the west coast, they navigate adoring fans, their “dog-ass” rivals, women, and parties, as well as their new ownership, the ad agency DDD and F, which has taken over after the new Commissioner has foiled the Mara family’s plan to move the team to Bermuda.

While the world of the novel is plausible as a whole, it’s hard to imagine a Giants team without the Maras at the helm, a football world without the semi-brilliance that the Maras gifted to the league, or the semi-greatness that has graced the sports media landscape as semi-inspirations of the Maras and their work.

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It Takes a Village: The Original Seahawks Behind Poona Ford

When Poona Ford made his first start with the Seattle Seahawks on December 16th, 2018, he was out to continue on his mission of defying the odds that were stacked against his success. At 5’11” and 310 pounds, he’s not exactly your traditional nose tackle. But all it took was a chance. In his first ever play as a starter, he proved himself one of the squad’s most effective defenders against the run. Ford bounced off the down block by the San Francisco 49ers right guard, and as quickly as his doubters turned their heads, number 97 made the stop on Matt Breida for a three-yard gain.

The Seahawks may have lost the game 23-26, but their valiant effort can be attributed in part to Ford’s performance. Pro Football Focus awarded him a grade of 89.7 that week, second on the Seahawks only to Bobby Wagner. Not a bad for a rookie debut.

Poona is a notoriously quiet guy; his high school football coach B.J. Payne frequently jokes about his “resting media face,” which will likely serve him well in his inevitable future successes in the NFL. But when it comes to the formative years of his life and the town that built him in and before high school, one can detect a welcome break in that private, subdued facade.

“My favorite year was my senior year. I mean, everything went so fast. Before I knew it, I’m a senior, and we talk about being seniors as freshmen but then when it’s finally here… I feel like that was my best year ever.”

Everyone has their memories of high school football, whether a player, devoted fan, or an uninvolved witness of the culture. But when Poona took the field with his original team of Seahawks at Hilton Head Island High School, everyone, regardless of their relationship with the sport, knew something special was happening.

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The 2029 New York Giants: Comparisons, Regrets, and the Future of Daniel Jones

This off-season in East Rutherford has seen a lot already in the selection of Daniel Jones with the sixth overall draft pick, the trade of the division’s best wideout, not to mention additional roster moves that set up numerous questions.

Remember this time last year? When the New York Giants were in a rebuild that was almost certainly close to a conclusion? Those weeks after the 2018 NFL Draft were exciting! Fans felt relieved in the choices made by new general manager and head coach Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur in the off-season to this point. There was a smell of certainty in the air as OTAs were beginning.

What a time to be alive.

I don’t need to recap this past season for you, and that’s good, because I don’t want to. I, among many, am still in the digestion process of the 5-11 record posted. As for the changes that have been made to the roster in recent months, certainly there are questions being posed and assumptions being made. But all that really can be assumed are those questions themselves, which will undeniably revolve around comparisons. I hope to, in 10 years, return to these comparisons and their corresponding predictions, and be wrong.

Over the next stretch of time, as the Eli Manning era comes to a close, the following will undoubtedly be rivaled:

And… of course…

Let’s start there.


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What If New York Giants Picked up Trace McSorley?

I don’t think I’ll ever forget watching Trace McSorley in 2016’s Big Ten Championship. Mostly because I worked at a Penn State bar at the time. There were many moments of celebration that night; Still, I remember particularly the start of the fourth quarter, when McSorley cannoned the ball to Saquon Barkley for an 18-yard touchdown, giving Penn State their first lead in the game. Security lifted me and another bartender onto the counter of the bar, as we held sparklers and poured Jameson into the many cheering open mouths below.

McSorley won the MVP of that game, and with reason. For all intents and purposes, Penn State should have lost. But the Nittany Lions’ clutch leading man escorted the pack from a 21-point deficit to a victory. Now, he has declared for the 2019 NFL Draft and is projected by NFL.com to go unclaimed and enter free agency after a slump this past year, likely due to the loss of Barkley. So wouldn’t a reunion with his former passing partner show the NFL what McSorley is really made of? After all, plenty of excellent quarterbacks went undrafted in previous years (see: Tony Romo, championship-winning Kurt Warner, and Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon).

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Chad Wheeler and John Greco Gave the New York Giants Victory

At halftime, the New York Giants led 20-6, and had only one scoring drive in the second half. Eli Manning nailed the pass to Sterling Shepard with 2:08 left in the game, ensuring their win. With one second left, the Houston Texans pulled off a touchdown, but it didn’t matter. The Texans saw their third loss of the season in their first game at home. The Giants recorded their first win of the season, and gloriously so, despite the terrifying Houston defense featuring J.J. Watt. Watt recorded three sacks and three tackles but had difficulty pushing through the offensive line that the Giants debuted today. The additions of Chad Wheeler and John Greco on offense refurbished the line that was holding the crew back for the first two weeks. Finally, Eli’s protectors were the group that was proclaimed to carry the team to victory.

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LWOS: What Losing Davis Webb Means for the New York Giants

The news broke on Sunday, the day after the Giants released their 53-man roster, which included four quarterbacks: Kyle Lauletta, (Eli) Manning, Alex Tanney, and Webb.

As of now, the Giants do not have a sufficient backup quarterback. Lauletta and Tanney both lack the moxie necessary to be immediate solutions should Manning go down. While Webb was a little too hyperactive in the first week of preseason to be productive, he had shown significant improvement in the past weeks, and nearly convinced the fans that he is, in fact, the right guy to take over the G-Men’s offense.

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LWOS: Preseason Week 2 Review: New York Giants at Detroit Lions

The New York Giants preseason victory over the Detroit Lions on Friday was the spectacle that fans needed to see that the second team is good enough to keep up with the troops that they’ll be supplementing once regular season hits. Eli Manning didn’t play. Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t play. Saquon Barkley didn’t play. And none of that proved to be a problem as Big Blue found victory at Ford Field. The game was “bad Lions.” But it was also very much “good Giants.”

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LWOS: Placing the New York Giants Projected Starters on a Field With Fewer Lines

I’ve never had much interest in soccer. My ex-boyfriend tried to get me into it years ago, when “his team” was considered a contender for the World Cup. I genuinely couldn’t even say what year or what team.

This year is different. This year, my own motherland is a contender for the first time since 1998. Croatia had only recently gained independence from Yugoslavia. The nation wasn’t even admitted into FIFA until 1992. Yet six years later, they made it all the way to the World Cup semifinals.

As I was watching the Croatian match against Russia on Saturday with baited breath—the teams going into penalties, mine with an injured goalkeeper, I began thinking about the complications that face this classy, aptly-named sport, in conversation with our “football.” If we put 11 New York Giants players on a soccer pitch, who might they be?

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LWOS: New York Giants All-Franchise Team

As the New York Giants revamp this off-season, preparing for championship contention after last season’s catastrophe, I’ve been thinking a lot about what this young team can take from its rich history and apply to a fresh start. The Giants’ legacy was built on greatness, both on and off the field, and there are clear attempts being made to revisit the times when the team was at its best.

In my most recent column, I explored how a change in morale is bringing the team together in ways that the organization hasn’t seen in recent years. The future of this team will be presumably a bright one, but there is much that can be learned from the Giants of the past.

When compiling this All-Franchise team, a few factors were kept in mind when considering each player in this club’s vibrant history, and how they might contribute to a modern Giants franchise. As the Coach Herb Brooks (played by Kurt Russell) says to Craig Patrick in the 2004 film Miracle, “I’m not looking for the best players, Craig. I’m looking for the right ones.”

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