SPidge Tales

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Giants Face Their Battle of New Orleans against the Patriots

On January 8, 1815, Andrew Jackson led American forces to victory over the British at the Battle of New Orleans. The British sustained 2000 casualties, while the Americans lost as few as 100. This great victory made Andrew Jackson a national hero and household name, propelling him to one of America’s most eventful presidencies.

But the battle was otherwise meaningless. Two weeks earlier, on Christmas Eve 1814, the U.S. and Britain signed a peace treaty in Ghent, modern-day Belgium, officially ending the War of 1812. But since people did not yet have wireless Internet, the news reached American shore too late to stop war’s final battle.

My New York Giants face a similar battle on Saturday. They play the mighty undefeated New England Patriots. In the grand scheme of things, the game is meaningless. The Giants are 10-5, and locked into the 5 seed in the playoffs. They play Tampa Bay in round one whether they finish 11-5 or 10-6. Ninety-nine percent of the time, teams sit their best players to avoid injury. But New England is the first team to ever start a regular season 15-0, and has a chance to be only the second team in the Super Bowl era to complete an unbeaten regular season. The Giants have a chance to ruin history and make a name for themselves. A chance, I believe, that makes the injury risk worth it.

Sure, the Giants need their stars healthy to make a deep playoff run. But I know this Giants team. If they are anything, they are inconsistent. The Giants have not put together three straight consistent games all year, and I don’t see it happening in the playoffs. They will not play three straight solid games. They will not make the Super Bowl. This week is their Super Bowl. The game will be simulcast on NBC and CBS. If the Giants can shock the world, they will be remembered as the one team to beat the NFL’s all-time greatest team (which the 2007 Patriots will go down as when they take home the Lombardi trophy in February). If the Giants pull off the upset, Eli Manning can have his Andrew Jackson moment and make a name for himself. This is his fifth up-and-down season, and if he is going to make what Bill Simmons calls The Leap, it is now or never. If Elishah Manning is ever going to be a great quarterback, if he is going to lead the Giants to glory sometime in the next half decade, if he is going to ride a chariot of fire to Super Bowl heaven, like his Biblical prophet namesake’s friend Elijah, then he needs to make like the Americans at the battle of New Orleans, even if the Giants already signed their playoff ticket Treaty at Ghent in last week’s victory over the Bills.


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