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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New York Giants 2019 NFL Draft Review

For the second time under the leadership of Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur, the New York Giants entered the draft with plenty of holes to fill. Through seven rounds of surprises, there were undoubtedly hits and misses. And many of the questions that we hoped would be answered still remain open-ended. The theme of this year’s draft seems to be culture. Each of these players comes from a background of overcoming adversity, be it on the field, off of it, or through the media. For a team that has actively been dosing chemotherapy to their locker room, it’s vital that the culture and leadership aspects of the team are present and activated.

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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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Russell Wilson Off the Table for the New York Giants, Shushing Speculation

Ahh… springtime. Another year has come and gone, and along with that freshly cut grass smell and iced coffee, the season welcomes back draft speculation and off-season workouts for the NFL. The New York Giants have now officially dodged the chatter of a potential trade for Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, and it is once again time to get serious about whom to expect on the 2019 roster.

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Wrap Sheet: Antonio Brown, Olivier Vernon, and the Rest of the Day in the League

It’s been quite a day for the NFL. If I’d known it was going to be so busy, I probably would have stayed behind when my friends suggested the strip club last night.

To ease everyone’s brains, I thought I’d play the hero and write up a wrap sheet, to sum up the events of today in our favorite professional sports league.

The League Day: Trades, Cuts, Retirements, “The Weed”

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Is Dog Showing A Sport?

When my partner Andrew Lemieux and I walked into Madison Square Garden (his first time ever) and flashed our press passes for the 2019 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, we were completely unprepared for what we saw. Beneath the floor level seats existed an organized gymnasium of platforms, extension cords, signage, humans with cameras, and dogs. Lots and LOTS of dogs.

Andrew and I primarily cover football and have debated heavily about what constitutes a sport on our weekly sports talk show, Under Further Review. When we were guests at a filming of the ESPN+ show Always Late with Katie Nolan, we even asked Katie if she would consider dog showing a sport, to which she replied with a resounding “YES,” much to Andrew’s dismay. We had come to the Westminster Dog Show to settle this once and for all.

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LWOS: Season Review: What Odell Beckham’s Absence Taught Us About the New York Giants

Few franchises in 2018 had a buildup as steep as the New York Giants. Few franchises in history have followed such buildup with a season that reaped more disappointment than pride. After a highly rated draft and many effective offseason roster changes, it seemed “Big Blue” was ready to walk into the regular season and dominate all who dared to challenge the crew.

That, obviously, did not happen. One of the biggest question marks entering the season was Odell Beckham Jr. – the resident Giants drama queen who was out to prove his worth after a $95 million contract extension. Now that the Giants season has officially ended with a disappointing 5-11 record (finishing last in the NFC East for the second straight year), Beckham still remains somewhat of a red flag. Before we can look ahead, it’s time to look back over what we’ve learned from the star wide receiver this year.

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