Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Moshier: Giant letdown inexcusable

For the record, this was not a losing season for New York’s football Giants. Just a lost cause.


“There are 8-8 seasons and there are 8-8 seasons,” president and chief executive John Mara said this past week, long after his Giants (and mine) had inexplicably rolled over and played dead when their playoff lives depended on it, “but this one felt more like 2-14 to me.”


Make that 1-12-1. That was the Giants’ record back in 1966, when I was nine years old and my favorite team was recording only two winning seasons in a particularly dreadful 17-year stretch from 1964-80. The 1966 Giants lost their last eight games – including a 72-41 loss to a Redskins team they had beaten 13-10 earlier in the season – and they allowed 501 points, a franchise record that still stands.


The only reason why I know that is because this year’s Giants gave up 427 points, the second-most in franchise history. They were outscored 85-16 in their last two games, losing 41-9 to Carolina’s Panthers (who had nothing to play for) in their final game at Giants Stadium, a game they needed to win to keep their playoff hopes alive. And they played like there was no tomorrow in last week’s embarrassing 44-7 loss at Minnesota.


OK, so going 8-8 means the Giants now have put together five consecutive seasons of .500 or better football, something they haven’t done since 1954-63. So what? I didn’t expect much from that 1966 team that finished 1-12-1, not with Allie Sherman doing the coaching, not with former Cortland High and Cornell University star Gary Wood and an aging Earl Morrall splitting time at quarterback, not when fullback Chuck Mercein is your leading rusher (327 yards). At least that team had a Pro Bowler (Spider Lockhart) in the secondary.


But this year’s Giants were 5-0, and two wins over the Cowboys and a blowout at Washington gave them a fighting chance. When push came to shove, though, they didn’t put up a fight. That’s what made this year’s 8-8 feel more like 1-12-1.



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