Tuesday, September 24, 2013
A comparison the Giants can't stomach
By Dan Graziano
Our man Rich Cimini noted Tuesday morning that the New York Giants have the same record (36-31) since the start of the 2009 season as the New York Jets do, including the same number of postseason victories (4). That 2009 season was Rex Ryan's first as Jets coach, and he has led his team to the playoffs twice in that time, while the Giants have only reached the postseason once.
Obviously, the Giants' lone postseason appearance and all four of those postseason wins came following the 2011 season and culminated in the franchise's fourth Super Bowl title. None of Ryan's four postseason wins is a Super Bowl or even a conference title game. The significance of this is not lost on me, Rich or anyone else who might be making the comparison. It's also worth noting that a Dec. 24, 2011, victory over the Jets was the springboard for that Giants Super Bowl run. It was the first of six games the Giants won in a row to claim their title, and it was especially satisfying for them because of all of the talking Ryan and the Jets did in advance of the game.
But see, this is the one reason this point is worth making. I remember that day, and I remember how gleefully Giants owner John Mara spoke in the locker room after the game about the significance of beating the Jets after they talked so much and covered up the Giants' Super Bowl logos in the hallway outside the locker rooms. I remember thinking how unusual it was for Mara to be talking to the media in the middle of the locker room after a Week 16 regular-season game.
Since that time, I've been told by more than one person around the Giants that Giants ownership cares a great deal about being better than the Jets -- that beating the Jets is, in some ways, more important to the Maras than beating the Cowboys or the Eagles or the Redskins. They pay attention to what's going on in Florham Park, and it often annoys them the way the Jets go about their business and call attention to themselves. A feeling of superiority over the team with which they share their stadium -- justified by their franchise's more decorated history -- is a part of the Giants' self-image. So when these kinds of comparisons start getting thrown around, you'd better believe they're being noticed in East Rutherford, and not in a way that makes anyone chuckle at the irony of it all.
As I've written many times, I feel certain that Tom Coughlin's job as Giants coach is safe as long as he wants it. I think Jerry Reese's job as GM is safe, too. I do not expect the Giants to make any organizational or coaching changes in-season, and at this point it's too early to say whether they'd make any at the coordinator level even in the offseason. They believe in stability in positions of leadership, and they have stuck to that belief even when pique and frustration would have pushed other owners into rash action.
But this here? This notion that the Jets are somehow equal to them in any statistical way? I'm just telling you, this is the kind of thing that bothers the people who run the Giants more than you would expect it to. And if it continues, it's going to be a long year for a lot of people around the New York Football Giants.