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The Bengals went from rock bottom to a Super Bowl appearance in a short period of time. Why can’t the Giants?

It’s been five years since the Giants were last in the postseason — the Wild Card round in January 2017 was their most recent appearance.

Of course, that was the loss to Green Bay following the infamous boat picture, but we’re not getting into that right now.

What we will get into, however, is the Giants’ ability to remain in the mud amid five straight years of losing, and how they have no excuses for such constant irrelevance when a team like the Bengals did what they did this past season.

Nearly two years ago, during the virtual 2020 NFL Draft, Cincinnati was on the clock with the first overall pick (which they used to acquire quarterback Joe Burrow out of LSU). The Bengals had won two games during the 2019 season, finishing in the basement of the AFC North division and the league as a whole.

And just under 22 months later, on Sunday night, they were playing for the Lombardi Trophy. While they came up short against the Rams in what was a 23-20 game, the Bengals defied all odds and made an appearance in the Super Bowl just a few short years after sitting as the NFL’s laughing stock.


It proves the Giants have no excuses for their failure to right the ship amid this disastrous era in franchise history.

Absolutely. No. Excuses.

What’s that? The Giants have had a poor offensive line to work with?

So did the Bengals, who allowed 55 sacks in the regular season (third-most in the NFL). In fact, Cincinnati allowed seven sacks Sunday night, which ties the record for the most number of sacks a single quarterback has taken in Super Bowl history.

What’s that? The Giants have had to deal with injuries at the quarterback position?

Okay…and? Do you not remember Burrow’s gruesome knee injury that prematurely concluded his 2020 rookie season? And how it was to potentially affect him in 2021?

What’s that? The Giants are in a competitive NFC East division that hasn’t had a repeat champion since the 2004 campaign?

The Bengals, twice each this past season, needed to face Lamar Jackson and John Harbaugh, a Browns team that made the postseason the year prior, and Mike Tomlin, who was able to get his team into the playoffs with an aging and struggling Ben Roethlisberger under center.

Going from a laughing stock to a Super Bowl contender doesn’t need to take five years. A rebuild in this league doesn’t need to be an excruciatingly long process.

But for various reasons (poor drafting, poor player evaluation, poor handling of the salary cap, poor coaching, poor practice habits that you could argue have led to numerous injuries, etc.), the Giants have remained a joke.

Meanwhile, other teams, such as the Bengals and the other six organizations that made the playoffs this past season after missing them in 2020, are seemingly on the right track.

When you look at those franchises on the up-and-up, you realize just how inexcusable the Giants’ slow rebuild and turnaround have been. You also begin to realize just how inexcusable continued losing would be — the upcoming 2022 campaign needs to be the start of something new and exciting in East Rutherford.

Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY

Listen to ESNY’s Wide Right Podcast on Apple here or on Spotify here.

Ryan Honey is a senior NFL analyst, betting writer, and podcaster for Elite Sports NY. He hosts the Wide Right Podcast, which serves as both a New York Giants podcast and sports betting show.