So here I go with my end of the year football wrap-up. For those of you not paying attention I’m a New York Giants’ fan and the Giants wont the Super Bowl. Yeah, that’s the best possible outcome I could have hoped for but I wasn’t expecting it to happen. Not that I find it totally unexpected either because their 2007 season Super Bowl victory taught me that if they get into the playoffs and play well then they have as good a shot as anyone else.

What is weird is that I didn’t start out this year with high expectations. Last year the Giants managed to finish the season 10-6 and still miss the playoffs. Usually ten wins gets you in but not always. A few years ago the Patriots even won eleven games but still didn’t make the playoffs. It’s not easy to make it to the post season but the main reason I had for my lack of good expectations was the plethora of injuries the Giants had during the pre-season. A lot of the defense got hurt and many of them were out for the year. It did not bode well.

The oddest thing I had to say before the season began was that I hadn’t been this down on the Giants’ chances since they won the Super Bowl back in the 2007 season. The Giants were coming off a season of turmoil in 2006 where they played below my expectations and neither I nor any of my Giants’ fans friends saw anything but more turmoil ahead of them. And though there was plenty of turmoil in the 2007 regular season the Giants pulled it together at the end of the year, played great in the playoffs, and won a victory in the Super Bowl against an unbeaten team that most people expected to win.

This year, mostly because of the injuries, I also saw nothing but turmoil in the Giants’ future. And there was plenty of turmoil all during the year too. Losses to teams that they should have beaten, a defense that couldn’t make a game winning stop when they had to, and a running game that was going nowhere. It was not a pretty regular season but luckily the two other teams in the Giants’ division, who were supposed to be good, also had years filled with turmoil. The Giants were able to win their division this year with just a 9-7 record. That was their doorway into the playoffs.

There was even one game this year when I gave up on the Giants’ season. It was a Sunday night game against the Cowboys. The Giants’ playoff hopes were on the line. If they lost this one their chances of making it to the playoffs would be gone. The Giants were playing terribly and so were down by eleven points in the fourth quarter. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was tired (I hate night games because they end too late and I can’t fall asleep after them) and wanted to go to bed. Frustrated I said to myself, “If they have a miracle finish I’ll read about it in the morning” and so went to bed thinking the Giants’ playoff hopes were dashed. But then in the morning I read about their miracle finish. Holy crap!

Even after that miracle finish the Giants lost the next week to a team they should have beaten and thus made the final two games of the season must wins. Good thing they won them. Then the Giants won three playoff games and were in the Super Bowl. Not easy playoff games either but by that point I had some confidence in the Giants. I expected them the beat Atlanta and they did but despite the lopsided final score it was no easy feat. The next week they faced the 15-1 Green Bay Packers who a lot of people had as the Super Bowl favorites. I gave the Giants a one in three chance in that game but had confidence in them because they had beaten the Packers at the Packers’ stadium during their 2007 playoff run so I had seen it before. They did beat them. Nice.

The last team the had to beat to go to the Super Bowl was the 49ers. San Francisco was favored but I gave the Giants a fifty-fifty shot in that one. The weather was bad which I think favored the 49ers a little. It was a really close game that looked like it was going to come down to who was going to make a mistake. The weather and the two good defenses were making it hard for either team to score any points. But then the Niners made a mistake and all of a sudden the Giants were on their way to the Super Bowl. Quite exciting I must tell you.

As in the Super Bowl following the 2007 season the Giants were going to play the New England Patriots. Weird. A few moths ago a wasn’t expecting to see the Giants in the Super Bowl and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see a rematch with the Patriots. There just aren’t that many Super Bowl rematches that happen. The Patriots were favored, once again, but not heavy favorites this time. I saw the game as a fifty-fifty toss up and would have had a hard time picking a favorite. I though the Giants had a little more talent across the board but the Patriots had a legendary coach and a legendary quarterback. That can even things out.

Like the other Super Bowl in which the Giants beat the Patriots this was a close one. I’m sure glad the G-Men won but it could have gone either way. At no point in the game did I think they Giants had secured a victory. Early on the Giants had some chances to score some points and build a lead but it didn’t happen. In the second half the Patriots had a chance to put the Giants away but they didn’t. Once again the Super Bowl came down to the Giants making a late game winning drive and the Patriots with not enough time on the clock to mount their own and having to try a long desperation pass that came too close to working for my nerves. It was as close as things get. A play here or there going the other way and it could have been a Giant loss. The cliché is that football is a game of inches and it’s amazing how often that is true.

So it’s in the books. I’ve seen the Giants win four Super Bowls in my lifetime and it’s a lot of fun. And now Giants’ fans can say that corny thing that I always hated hearing about other teams, “One for the thumb”. I first heard it as “One for the thumb in ’81” after the Pittsburgh Steelers won their fourth Super Bowl in 1980 but they didn’t win it that year so it became “One for the thumb” until 2006 when they finally won their fifth Super Bowl. Now as the Giants try to win their fifth I suspect I might hear it again and it will still be as corny but I bet I won’t mind it as much.