Tuesday, October 23, 2018

As an aside, the NY Giants are a horror show

I used to think the Yankees and NY football Giants were tethered to a cosmic teeter-totter, so that when one team rose in the standings, the other magically fell. No statistical data ever supported this, but I felt it, anyway. From a juju standpoint, it simply made sense. No NYC sports team could win without a corresponding collapse from the others. We'd never ask the juju gods for multiple titles in one year. 

After all, New York isn't Boston.

Well, the Giants (1-6) have now replaced lowly Cleveland as the most pitiful franchise in pro football, and for reasons I cannot explain, I sat up to the bitter end last night, watching them lose on Monday Night Football. And their incredible self-rotting malaise won't help the Yankees, nope, not one bit. The Giants - like the Knicks, Rangers, Mets, Jets, whatever - have achieved a Zen-like internal independence of ineptitude, and right now, they could lose a team-wide fist-fight to Jamal Khashoggie. NYC maintains one generic, annual source of sports pride: the Yankees. And good luck with that, because 2018 may soon be remembered not for a team that won 100 games, but as the year the Redsocks won their first in a row.  

But bear with me, because this is about the Giants. Two days ago, Dick Modzelewski - a fire hydrant of an old defensive tackle - died at age 87. He was known as "Little Mo" because his older brother played for the Browns , and he was the bedrock of a great Giants defense in 1961. This was back when I - age 11 - simply assumed that the NY Giants were the NY Yankees of the NFL, and would always win. After all, they had Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, Kyle Rote, Sam Huff, Andy Robustelli, Erich Barnes - it seemed every player was an all-star. And their defensive line - Ro-Mo-Ro-Ko - (Robustelli, Modzelewski, Rosey Greer and Jim Katcavage) - was the best in the game. The Yankees were Mantle & Maris, Berra and Ford... but the Giants were every bit as powerful... until they were clobbered by Green Bay.

It's amazing to look back on what went wrong. Consider the old Giants' coaching staff. Vince Lombardi coached the offensive line, and Tom Landry handled the defense. But when head coach Jim Lee Howell retired, the Giants let both men go and handed everything over to the team clipboard, Allie Sherman. And soon, they became the team they are now. 

Basically, the NFL has always maintained one rule among owners: No Yankee franchise would ever be allowed, no one team would dominate. And throughout the seventies, even as the Yankees rose, the Giants remained remarkably horrible.

Well, this is not an abnormality. This is the Giants. They are going to be horrible for a while. I'd say three to five years - longer if they end up killing their great young running back, Saquan Barkley. (Every time he runs the ball, I think: Please, juju gods, spare this child.) It's a tough time to follow sports in Gotham, which means business as usual. After all, New York is not Boston.

17 comments:

HoraceClarke66 said...

Yeah, how do you pass up BOTH Lombardi and Landry? I didn't think Allie Sherman was awful, but he sure as hell wasn't those two.

Mean times are upon us...

13bit said...

Historically and genetically, I should have been a Giants fan. My mom, after all, grew up a block from Yankee Stadium. I was raised a Yankee fan. Even in 1969, while I was happy for the Mets, I still considered myself a Yankee fan. I was never a Giants fan, though. So what happened?

First, football was not as big in the earlier generations of my family. Gambling and, earlier, goat-herding in the hills of Greece - these were the big sports. Baseball came about because my parents grew up in New York City of the 1920s through the 1950s.

When I was 7, in 1967, I was a fan of Bart Starr, but probably because I liked his name. By the end of that year, though, it was all over. My brother, almost ten years older than I, was a rabid AFL fan and used to sit up and watch the replays of the blacked-out games at night on our black and white TV. He was also, as you can guess, a Titans and then a Jets fans. He brainwashed me - it took little effort at the time - in believing in the Jets and into the idea that Broadway Joe was the coolest guy in football. I still believe he was. I was born again, so to speak.

I became a Jets fan in time for some of the greatest Jets games in history - the '68 playoff win, the '69 Super Bowl. It seemed as though it would never end. When you're 10, two years is a long time. So, as they began the great decline the following year, I got an early schooling in how life can break you slowly on the wheel. They never really did it again. We'd go to games at Shea and thrill to Namath tossing bombs to Richie Caster. We'd follow Big John Riggins, listening on the radio to the game that put him over 1000 yards for the season, the announcer in a stunned voice saying "Riggins is bowing in all four directions..." And we'd wait. We'd praise Gastineau, then have our hearts smashed by the "Mud Bowl" in Miami. No young teenager should have to be taught such cruel lessons in life, but that's the way it was. You'll have to remember that I never witnessed the Yankees' decline. They already were sucking by the time I really started watching, in the mid to late 60s.

Anyway, I hung in there, year after year, with the Jets. I'd watch every game from before the season until the last game. I'd listen to the pre-game and I'd listen to the post game. I scratch my head when Leon Hess complained about the urinals at Shea and said that was why he was moving to Jersey. I started to look for replays of Super Bowl III on TV. My brother and I, at some point in the late 90s, after discussing Namath's pass to Boozer on that epic day in December of 1968, realized we had become the equivalent of Cubs fans. We were getting older and talking about an ancient time. I'd start slacking off and then the idiots would have a promising start and they would suck me in again, only to smash my heart AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. It became like Lucy and the football, Charlie Brown.

I eventually stopped, even though my innate loyalty gave me guilt for a while. Knowing that Woody Johnson was a massive prick somehow made it easier. I began to follow the Giants, just in time for their recent decline. I now malign football all the time.

EXCEPT...I read somewhere this year about the Jets new QB. A cinderella type story. Wow. Hope dies hard. I started to follow them again, but only in the papers the next day. Luckily, I'm getting too old for this kind of shit. I'm signing out of football for the season. Tom Brady can join the long line of Boston shitheads who can lick my balls.

I have come to believe that the Jets will never take it all again until every member of the 1969 team is dead OR until Shitface Johnson has sold the franchise.

I love you all. Go L.A.

Shoot me now.

13bit said...

Hoss:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNftrsCMiQs

Anonymous said...

13Bit - I really enjoyed reading that. Thank you.

Despite being a lifetime NY Giant fan the poster on my bedroom wall was Broadway Joe (and across from him, Homer Jones.)

As to the current New York Football Giants. Holy fucking shit are they bad! There's really no other way to say it. I could be elegant, or technical, or funny, or even wistful but the truth is... Holy fucking shit are they bad!

I do not understand why I watch. There is ZERO chance that I will enjoy it. Even if they some how win a game I will be unhappy because they won't get to draft number one.

There's one thing though. I truly believe that ownership gives a crap. That's a welcome change from that other NY team we talk about here. But, even if that's true, then they are incompetent judges of executive talent because... Holy fucking shit are they bad!

Doug K.

Carl Weitz said...

Duque, I was born a year later so our early memories and attachment to the Giants are likely close to each other. After the last game, I vowed never to watch another game this season unless they started Lauletta and benched Manning. Nothing against Eli but he's shot and for the last 2-3 years can not throw an accurate pass over 20 yards with any consistency.

Sure, the O line sucks and Reese did a horrible job drafting players with the exception of a few notables like Beckham. But Manning, even in his best days, never had a strong arm. He depended on accuracy and that talent is gone.

I remember, back in the early 60's games were blacked out in a team's home market if the games did not sell out 24 hours prior to the game start time. So often my dad and I would get in the car and drive around in a fog of unfiltered Camel smoke, mostly listening to the Giants lose more than not. We were lucky enough to hear Marty Glickman doing his magic. After him, Jim Gordon also did a fine job. Currently, the Giant radio announcers do a mediocre job and I find the broadcasts too canned, formatted and dull.

Anonymous said...


Carl,

My Dad and his brother used to drive into the middle of Connecticut to be able to watch. Some of my fondest memories was looking at the week's TV Guide and seeing the game listed. It meant that he would be home watching and I could watch with him.

There was something magical about seeing the 1/2 page call out as well. It felt momentous and important. I saw one recently and it took me right back.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

GET RID OF BECKHAM.

IT'S ALWAYS ALL ABOUT HIM.

TRADE HIM FOR A PICK.

....(AND DON'T TELL THE OTHER FRANCHISE HE GOES TO THAT HE DROPS BALLS ON OCCASION).

TheWinWarblist said...

Everyone can see the drops!

Carl Weitz said...

Doug, yes! We would try to turn our motorized antenna to WTIC (owned by Travellers Insurance Company), channel 3 in Hartford early enough to see if the picture was watchable. I lived in the Asbury Park area and it helped being so close to the ocean. Sometimes, the quality would be decent enough even if there was an aura around the players but frequently there would be too much snow on the screen and not worth viewing. To me, those days seem like a lifetime ago.

TheWinWarblist said...

bitty, Skip James!? I adore you!!

Anonymous said...

Hey!

The Giants are so bad Isaiah Thomas turned down a front office job with them.

The Giants are so bad that in order to trade their players they have to offer a Groupon.

The Giants are so bad Donald Trump says they're good.

and amazingly...

The Giants are so bad that NJ.com is actually doing a mid-season keep 'em or dump 'em. Seriously...

https://www.nj.com/expo/sports/erry-2018/10/dec989fd014223/giants-keep-em-or-dump-em-eli.html

Doug K.

13bit said...

And I you, Winnie.

Anonymous said...

I WAS BEING SARCASTIC, WARBLIST...LOL

Alphonso said...

I have been a Giants fan since 1960.

I've seen it all. I even played in a pick-up basketball game once, at the NYAC, where my man to guard was Frank Gifford.

I recall the devastating loss when Alan Ameche scored in the greatest game ever played.

Always loved games in the snow.

Fast forward; George Young had to be assigned to the Giants by the league to save them from" 18 years of lousy football."

Finally, we got some quality coaches ( missing the bargain of Belichek ) but gaining the wisdom and command of Bill Parcells.

We had Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks and a dominating defense.

Now, we have hopes that Gettleman would be the new George Young. Sorry folks. That train has left the station.

He spoke well early, but failed us when the bell rang.

Specifically,

1. He was nothing but a " yes man" when John Mara said, " Manning is still our guy."

2. He went with the tide of ownership sentiment and drafted a great player ( Barkley ), who can be of only marginal value to the Giants. No holes = no running room.

3. He balked at the idea of trading both " the cancer " ( Eli Apple ) and the " distraction '( OJB).

4. He should have traded them both; he should have traded Eli Manning; he should have traded the second pick for a package of picks. The only thing he did right was not draft Darden . Who will be a great NFL quarterback, but would not play for the Giants until 2020.

5. The commitment should have been to a new offensive line, and a bevy of dominating defensive players. Our defense sucks. Anyone notice?

6. Instead, we have Alex Tanney and Kyle Laudetta ( is that his name, or am I thinking of our former punter; Sean Landetta?)

7. He showed poor judgement in selecting Shurmur as the new Head coach. And Shurmur's staff of coaches is awful. Did anyone ever ask why our new offense co-ordinator was fired by Carolina? They do predictable things poorly. Other teams
get " a leg up" due to the brilliance and creativity of their coaches. We get Eli running two failed sneaks on the goal-line, and eating up all the clock.

8. The players he purchased at exorbitant prices ( the new left tackle, the former right guard ) are laughable. The Hernandez guy, whom everyone wants to say is great, isn't. Each game, the guy in his face simply runs right passed him, in an open lane to the QB. Now we know why he was still available when the Giants selected him.

9. So now they trade Eli Apple for a number 4 pick next year. Eli was a number 1 pick and, supposedly, playing like one. Sort of. Nonetheless, there has to be story here. We'll never hear it. But you watch; now the Giants will sign or trade for a replacement corner. So the logic of trading Apple is what?

The team is in rotten hands.

And Mara, who can't be traded, is too much of a dummy and a weak-willed asshole to do anything about it. Our only hope is for complete and utter collapse.

Again.

Our best hope, I think, is for the Jets to get hot and win it all.





HoraceClarke66 said...

I should have been a Giants fan, but my father, who had been a New York BASEBALL Giants fan as well, used to root against my beloved Yankees.

At that point, he didn't even have a favorite team of his own. He just rooted AGAINST the team beloved to his eight-year-old son.

As you can imagine, it was a really healthy relationship.

In retaliation, I began to root for the Packers, the team he hated the most. They had those amazing wins against Dallas, in the 1966 NFL championship, and in the Ice Bowl, and I was hooked.

Around this time we moved to Massachusetts—and my father started actively rooting for the Red Sox, the team I hated the most. But he remained a New York FOOTBALL Giants fan, screaming and raging at the TV set every Sunday afternoon. Then my parents would usually have a big fight about his watching football all day.

That, too, was a really healthy relationship.

Rooting for the Packers is easy, especially since I'm not all that much of a football fan. Unlike the Yankees, they're not widely hated, and they are owned by their fans, which is kind of great. It is a little annoying how they always seem to have one of the best quarterbacks in the league but can't put a team together around him.

But so what? It's football.

A few years ago, just before the first Giants-Patriots Super Bowl, I called my father to wish his Giants well. He informed me that he no longer rooted for the Giants and was a Pats fan.

I was never so pleased to watch the Giants win a game. Except for the next Super Bowl against the Pats.

John M said...

Eli is no Peyton.

Where's Rocky Thompson these days?

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