The Giants 2017 season was an abject failure, from start-to-finish. Expected to be one of the top teams in football, the G-Men stumbled, staggered, and faltered to a 3-13 record. The thirteen losses mark the highest total in franchise history. Considering expectations, this is not only the worst season in team history, but one of the worst campaigns in the history of sports.
How many teams, pegged to compete for a championship, wind up at the very bottom of the sport? You can’t name many off the top of your head. Generally speaking, experts have no idea what they’re talking about. They are purveyors of the sports equivalent to “Fake News”. However, in predicting win-loss totals, very rarely is the consensus this far-off.
Even Vegas, the most reliable prognosticator, set the Giants over/under total at nine wins prior to the year. And yet, when the dust settled, they ranked in the NFL’s cellar. At rock bottom were the winless, hapless Browns. A team that’s won once in two years. Right next to them……The New York Giants. The two organizations locked hand-in-hand at the top of the draft.
Ben McAdoo photo: NESN
With that in mind, let me take you back to Week 17. Big Blue entered at 2-13, with a lame duck Head Coach and players that echoed the casting call for Hollywood extras. When running down the list, the fan-base muttered, “What? Who?”
Hunter Sharp and Travis Rudolph caught passes. Who in God’s name are these people?
Really, the Giants should’ve been more inventive. In the late ’70s the Eagles held open tryouts. Why not do the same for Week 17? Let’s have my barber, Fat Tony, catch some passes from Eli!
It’d be the highlight of Fat Tony’s life. Travis Rudolph was probably upset he had to play in 10-degree weather. All the while cashing his lowly, NFL-minimum paycheck. ($450,000) Poor guy. It was chilly!
Fat Tony would’ve been much more appreciative. “Hey F.T., give me a ten-yard hook. Ready? Break!”
Fat Tony at wideout. Barry, your “cool uncle”, in the backfield. Tommy Meatballs, your deli guy, at free safety. And Crazy Larry, the town’s loveable, short-tempered dental-hygienist at middle-linebacker. He’d likely show more aggression than Eli Apple, Landon Collins, or Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. A bunch that “quit on Ben McAdoo”, according to press leaks in November. How about you, the reader, quit on your boss. See how that goes…
Fat Tony, Travis Rudolph, Crazy Larry, Hunter Sharp….What the hell’s the difference?
So, the Giants have no-name, gym-class heroes on the field, a lame-duck coach, and a 2-13 record. Oh, and it’s 19 degrees with a wind-chill around 1. To nobody’s’ surprise, Met Life Stadium looked like Blockbuster Video after the creation of Netflix. Empty, hollow, and filled with regret.
At the game’s end, fans had a semblance of solace. This God-forsaken season was finally over. Let’s wash our hands of the whole thing and move-on. There’s no point in beating the dead horse. The team stunk, the coach stunk, the whole thing was an abject failure. Time for the new year.
But, at the last minute, Jason Pierre-Paul had one-last parting shot. A bow to wrap the season!
Jason Pierre-Paul photo: ESPN
In a post game interview, the defensive end said, “Obviously the so-called fans weren’t out there. But I appreciate the fans that came out to show their support.”
The temperature was one degree. The team was 2-13. Fat Tony, Crazy Larry, and Uncle Barry were on the field. Yet, Jason Pierre-Bonehead-Paul, ripped “so-called fans” for not paying 200 bucks to cheer-on his overpaid ass. Oy-vey. Talk about tone deaf.
It’s as if Leonardo DiCaprio put out a garbage movie, and then trashed fans for not going to see it. “Hey idiots, get to the theaters. What better do you have to do? You’re not rich and famous like me!”
That obviously aggravates me. It’s also what gives athletes and professional sports a bad name. Then people are justified when they say, “Sports are a waste of time and money. Just a bunch of overpaid goons paid to toss a ball.” It’s hard to argue when Jason Bozo-Paul trashes fans. Sports do a lot of good. Idiots like JPP don’t.
If I’m incoming Giants GM Dave Gettleman, or any other general manager, I understand the importance of likeability.
How you carry yourself matters. Appearance matters. Good looking people get hired. Charismatic folk become heads of companies. Likeable workers, not always the hardest workers, get promotions.
The same is true in sports. How you carry yourself as an athlete is paramount.
If I’m a general manager, I go to my P.R. people and schedule “Media Training Day”. At the event, players are taught how to deal with the press. I then subject them to Enes Kanter interviews on loop.
Enes Kanter photo: slamonline.com
The Knicks’ grinder is a prototype for how to handle the media. It’s never about him. It’s always about the team. It’s always about respecting the fans. He’s not the best player, he’s not the most talented. But in three months, he’s become a New York fan-favorite.
Media Training Day. All Enes Kanter, for eight straight hours.
The goal is to ensure my players are marketable and likeable by the local populace. For one, it takes pressure off the team. Fans are more forgiving to players and coaches they like. Secondly, I want my players, at the very least, to respect the people that pay their checks.
Fans don’t need a lot. Just win games and show some appreciation for their support. That’s really it.
Calling people, “so-called fans” is among the most asinine statements JPP could’ve uttered. Do you think Joe, the iron-worker, busting his butt every day making a fraction of JPP’s salary, wants to hear how he’s not a real fan? Because he didn’t sit in frigid temperatures to watch Larry the Cable Guy play wideout.
Do you think average Tom, a NY construction guy, wants to hear complaints from a millionaire athlete after a failed season? Do you think Mark, the firefighter, wants to be bashed for not spending his hard-earned money to watch the hot-garbage Giants?
Media Training Day. It’s mandatory. Let’s eliminate tone-deaf players. Let’s teach them how to handle themselves publicly. More Enes Kanters, less Jason Pierre-Pauls.
In any case, for Giants fans, 2017 is finally over. Time to move on.
Featured Photo: washingtonpost.com