Did Green Bay Packer Linebacker Clay Matthews disrespect the world champion New York football Giants, or just tell the truth, when he said of last year’s playoff loss to the Giants, “The fact is, [the Giants] didn’t beat us; we beat ourselves”?
I remember talking to a Packer fan the day after that game and he spoke those very words about his team. That was the thought from a lot of people after the Giants beat the Packers 37-20 last season.
Today, Matthews’ comment prompted Justin Tuck of the Giants to say, “Talk is cheap. Play the game. We will see Green Bay again this year so we will see who lays down that week.”
Tuck wasn’t just talking to Matthews with that comment. He was directing it at everyone who doubts his team, and that includes a lot of people. In New York, all the football talk has been about the Jets, and the Giants have been relatively ignored even though they won the Lombardi trophy last season.
Well for one, the team finished 9-7 in the regular season. They got hot at the right time and caught some breaks along the way, including a host of dropped passes and fumbles from both Green Bay and San Fransisco. This caused many football fans and media to discount the teams’ achievements. But there’s another reason.
Most of the Giants’ players are not flashy. They just go about their job with a lunch-pail mentality. Their QB, Eli Manning was voted 33rd on the best NFL players list, despite the fact that he has won two Super Bowl MVP awards.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz is perhaps the most “flashy” of the Giants, with his salsa dancing, but even he carries himself as a humble, down to earth guy.
The team is one full of role-players and not “look at me/give me the ball” types. This fits in just fine with coach Tom Coughlin’s no-nonsense style, and the Mara family tradition.
As we approach the preseason, only days away, shouldn’t we appreciate the fact that this team won when it counted? That they came through in the clutch, while others did not?
In the end, the Giants bested their opponents, even though they were not expected to. This leads me to an interesting thought…
The Giants were underdogs, and won. Everyone loves an underdog until they win. Then the hunters become the hunted, and we search for a new underdog. One to replace the underdog that now, can no longer be considered an underdog, because they’ve already won. But here’s where it gets interesting. What if the champion is not expected to win again? Don’t they become the underdog all over again?
Check out our SALSA Football T Shirts, dedicated to the team and a player that no one expected to amount to much. Here’s to Salsa dancing underdogs everywhere!