For The Locals

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 21: New York Giants head coach Brian Daboll enters the field prior to the NFC Divisional playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants on January 21, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

I know that headline seems odd coming off of a playoff loss so let’s start with the obvious here: It sucks that the New York Giants season ended without a championship. It sucks that it ended with a 38-7 one-sided loss. It sucks that it was a loss to the m.f.-ing Philadelphia Eagles. Now that’s out of the way, let’s focus on the GOOD that came of this 2022 season.

Just about a year ago, the Giants signed Joe Schoen to replace Dave Gettleman as general manager and shortly after that we were introduced to new head coach Brian Daboll. All we knew of these two at the time was that they built a successful team in Buffalo with the Bills and hopefully we’d get some of that magic in East Rutherford. Then, magic happened.

Daboll built a winning culture within the Giants. He had the players playing for him and for the franchise. In the first game of the season on the road against the Tennessee Titans, Daboll gave us a taste of what was to come over the course of the year by attempting a two-point conversion to take the lead (and eventually win the game) rather than kick an extra point for a tie. This wasn’t Joe Judge anymore. This was a coach who let you know “we’re playing to win now.”

The Giants would surprisingly start the season 7-2, getting fans excited that the franchise’s rebuild just might have been moving along ahead of schedule. Keeping in mind that they were doing this with a ton of injuries as second and third string players became starters, you still saw the team competing hard. If there was only one takeaway at the halfway point of this season, it was that we finally found “our guy” as head coach.

The second half of the season saw the Giants win only two games down the stretch, compiling a 2-5-1 record in the last 8 games. Doubt began creeping back into fans heads again. “Oh no, not this again.” But a huge win against the Washington Commanders on a Sunday night national game, a very competitive loss against the Minnesota Vikings on Christmas Eve and playoff-clinching win against the Indianapolis Colts and suddenly we’re given some more of that Daboll magic that we can make some noise come playoff time.

In the Wild Card round, the Giants would upset the Minnesota Vikings for their first playoff win since 2011 and fans began to start puffing our chests. “Why not us?” was the mantra all week leading up to the Eagles game. This team was playing with house money after winning their 7th game of the year in a season that had all the “experts” predicting maybe 6-7 wins as the rebuilding process began. The Eagles then showed why they were the top seed in the NFC with a thrashing of the Giants in the Divisional Round, but the loss didn’t hurt as much because NOBODY expected the Giants to play meaningful football in January. I think that it was a loss to the Eagles that stings more than the actual loss. This team provided some great moments in 2022 and that can’t be lost on Giants fans.

So now we look ahead to the off-season with some questions that need to be answered. Will Daniel Jones & Saquon Barkley return? How will they address the rush defense? Will they add a top tier wide receiver? These are questions for another day when the spring arrives, but for now let’s revel in the fact that the New York Giants are giving every indication that the decade-long misery might finally be turning a corner in our favor.