EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese successfully predicted in the summer of 2007 that his team was good enough to win the Super Bowl. Four years later, Reese is trying to go 2-for-2.
Asked Wednesday how good he believes the 2011 Giants can be, Reese told ESPNNewYork.com, "I think this team is good enough, yeah, to go all the way. I do. I do.
"I think this team's good enough. We have some young players, but we had some young players (in 2007). We've just got to get off to a quick start, even though back then we didn't start off quick. We lost the first two games."
And then finished the season by beating the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Those 2007 Giants were widely dismissed in the preseason as a mediocre lot, as an 8-8 record waiting to happen. This time around, after suffering a series of devastating injuries on defense and after failing to sign Steve Smith, Kevin Boss and Plaxico Burress on Eli Manning's side of the ball, the Giants have been cast as second-class citizens in their division (to the Philadelphia Eagles) and in their market (to the New York Jets).
But Reese predicted last month the Giants would make the playoffs before backpedaling from the notion that it was a guarantee. Wednesday, the GM didn't go Joe Willie Namath on his Super Bowl pick. Without offering any money-back guarantees, Reese simply put any alarmed fans and overconfident opponents on notice.
"Last year we won 10 games and we were just a hair away from getting to the playoffs," Reese said, "and who knows what would've happened at that time. ... People said it was a promise or a guarantee (last month), and it wasn't.
"I was saying I believe this will happen. I believe we'll make the plays that we didn't make last year. I believe we'll take care of the ball, and I believe we'll make the playoffs, and I believe we'll make a run. I believe those things, and this team is really not that far away. I really believe that."
In August 2007, with Tiki Barber retired and with the Giants' roster looking thin enough to put coach Tom Coughlin in serious peril, Reese raised more than a few eyebrows around the league when the rookie GM told a reporter, "I think we have as good a chance as anyone else in the NFC East, really in the National Football League, period, to win the whole thing. There's no question in my mind."
Six months later, Reese was holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy in the Arizona desert. In the immediate wake of yet another season-ending injury, this one to starting middle linebacker Jonathan Goff, Reese still counts another Super Bowl title as a realistic scenario.
"We've got to get some young players involved quickly, but we're willing to do that," the GM said Wednesday. "I'm excited about this team. ... We've had times when people are saying, 'Well, the Giants are stacked. They're loaded. They're deep.' And then we go 8-8 or 10-6 and we don't get enough done.
"So I think we're in a good spot now. Watch us. Watch us."
Ian O'Connor is a columnist for ESPNNewYork.com.