Good Guys Win, Good Guys Win!

January 14, 2008

The New York Football Giants were victorious today over the Dallas Cowboys, earning them a trip to the NFC Championship. Much more than a mere football game took place, however. The Giants have largely defeated themselves in the past few years under head coach Tom Coughlin. Despite boasting loads of talent the team constantly suffered collapse in the second half of the season; they failed to maker it farther than the first round of the playoffs; they were tightly wound and there was much dissension in the ranks as well as the airing of dirty laundry in the media.

The Giants finished the regular season 10-6 with two of those losses coming at the hands of the Cowboys. Eli Manning has begun to come of age. Brandon Jacobs has proved himself a worthy successor to Tiki Barber as the feature-back. Michael Strahan has continued to produce as a top-flight pass rusher and Osi Umenyiora is heir-apparent to the throne. Again, the talent has been there all along. The real difference maker, however, has been Coughlin. Though he has a reputation for being a yelling-screaming tyrant and an old-school disciplinarian, Coughlin has truly been a different man this year. He has been more receptive to his players’ concerns, convening a representative body of ten players to air grievances and talk shop once a week. Most importantly, he has allowed and encouraged his players to have fun. And that has made all the difference.
The old-school coach is no longer able to get through to players in the NFL. Coughlin grew up watching Cleveland Browns football on black and white TV but has proven himself willing to evolve and change with the times. Bill Parcells was not able to do this in Dallas. Terrell Owens, the Platonic form of new-school flash, may ultimately be responsible for The Big Tuna’s retirement.

The Giants are surprising everyone and are deeper in the playoffs than anyone has expected because they’re having fun. Their loose, relaxed, and confident frame of mind has worked to their advantage and made me one extremely happy fan. If I may end on a decidedly non-analytic note, today was much more than a study in the mind-body connection and the Tao of Coughlin. The Giants represent fun, the blue states, and smash-mouth football. They overcame the good-old-boys, the self-proclaimed “America’s team”. Well, the 1990s are over. The Giants beating the Cowboys represents a win for progressive values such as fun and a defeat for oil-tycoons and redneck liberal baiting. Watching Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, and Jimmie Johnson cover this game put a cake-eating grin on my face about a mile wide.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: