They’re too far gone to even consider playoffs, but New York Giants fans shouldn’t go after each other for celebrating Sunday’s win.
New York Giants fans may shudder in fear at the mere mention of Herman Edwards. Generations of supporters have no doubt been traumatized by the somewhat grainy footage of Edwards, then a cornerback for the rival Philadelphia Eagles, taking back the ill-advised Joe Pisarcik handoff turned fumble 26 yards back for a score, creating what’s now known as the “Miracle at the Meadowlands”. The Big Blue faithful, however, would do well to remember the wisdom of Edwards and his midweek press conference in October 2002. In that routine media session, which occurred while he was coaching the Tri-State area’s green football team, Edwards uttered the six words that would forever define his NFL legacy.
You play to win the game.
When Edwards made that statement, his New York Jets were 2-5 and reeling from a loss to the Cleveland Browns. He was asked about his team giving up on the year and if he needed to motivate them further, and he gave us that memorable soundbite. Playing to win the game, the Jets went 7-2 after the famous words, earning a wild card, and even destroying the Indianapolis Colts in an East Rutherford wild-card game before bowing out to eventual AFC champion Oakland.
Granted, the 2017 Giants are too far gone to pull off any sort of miracle playoff run. Sunday’s 12-9 upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs provided temporary relief from a woebegone season, and fans can’t even celebrate properly because the team immediately returns to action on Thursday for a Thanksgiving showdown in Washington (8:30 PM, NBC).
Somehow, for all the silliness the Giants have gone through this season, it was perhaps Sunday’s win that perhaps provided the angriest response from Giants fan on social media, in an uproar over ruining their draft spot in April’s upcoming selection proceedings.
It’s a scene straight out of The Twilight Zone … fans visibly angry over their team winning.
If giants win today I hate mcadoo even more tbh
— Bradley (@bradleymullis) November 19, 2017
The Giants really gonna win this game smh lol I hate them so much
— Depressed Penn State Fan (@CWeigs) November 19, 2017
This is the first time in my life where I'm legitimately upset after a Giants win. This team can't even tank right ?
— Joe Popovich, Jr. (@CMTJoe) November 19, 2017
Contrary to the claims of those bearing torches and pitchforks, the win actually barely hurt the Giants’ draft position, as they entered and exited the weekend with the third pick of the upcoming selection proceedings. This should make it all the more acceptable to celebrate the upset over the Chiefs.
No one is saying that this is going to be the start of some improbable playoff run. No one’s printing playoff tickets. But the Giants needed something, anything, to fill the franchise and the fanbase with joy again. While Sunday wasn’t pretty, it was still a vintage performance that had whoever actually chose to show up at MetLife Stadium cheering.
Lost in the highs and lows in fanhood is that there actual human beings playing for their jobs out there. This isn’t like playing the latest version of Madden, where fans release and trade players callously, little consequence coming from their pixelated transactions. Livelihoods, however, are on the line over this final stretch for the Giants players and staff, some of whom may already know they’re not coming back next season. Head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese will be particularly on the spot, and though McAdoo has repeatedly said he doesn’t feel as if his job is on the line this season, he’ll need to at least make the team look like they’re going in the right direction if he wants to keep his job.
Tanking is an overrated process as is, and to do it for positioning in the NFL Draft, especially this year’s draft full of hit-or-miss spotlight prospects, is downright silliness. The Giants are a team full of young talent as is, and to see it showcased in situations like Sunday provides hope for fans, fans who have seen Super Bowl dreams turn into Eagles-fueled nightmares. Rare signs of light, signs of hope, should be welcomed, not hated.
Long story short, the Giants are playing “to win the game.” and their fans are trying to punish them for that.
Enjoy the win. Enjoy the emergence of youngsters. Enjoy the continuing success of Eli Manning, knowing that fans across town would give their left arm to have him as their quarterback if only for the continuity alone. Enjoy watching the Giants play spoiler to their contending NFC East brethren, as four of their final six are against the Redskins, Cowboys and Eagles.
Just celebrate responsibly and not save your money for playoff tickets.