With one game left on the New York Giants’ 2011 schedule it’s time for me to contemplate their season. It’s a do or die game because if they win they make it into the playoffs and if they lose their season is over. That affects how many good games they might have coming up but it doesn’t affect how many good games they played this season. So I feel comfortable examining their regular season right now before it’s even over.

To illustrate my point about judging the regular season I’ll go back to their three Super Bowl winning seasons. In both 1986 and 1990 they played a lot of memorable games. They won the Super Bowl at the end of each of those seasons and were a good team all year. Sure there were some clunkers in there, losses and ugly wins, but overall I have good memories of regular season games from those years.

The Giants also won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2007 season. They played some terrific games in the playoffs that were among the most memorable Giants’ games ever but during the regular season not so much. They had some painful losses and ugly wins. An ugly win, for those of you who don’t know, is when a team plays badly, usually below their talent level, but still wins the game. Every fan of a team will take a win any day but an ugly win doesn’t make for entertaining or memorable football.

As a matter of fact most people, including me, didn’t expect the Giants to make much noise, let alone win the Super Bowl, in the 2007 tournament. It was a surprise that they managed to put it all together and play up to their potential. They were obviously a talented team but that talent didn’t always tell during the regular season.

You can buy a 20 minute highlight package of NFL games on iTunes. They started this service back in 2006 or so and I have purchased a few games every now and then just for fun. I think the older games are about two bucks. I just bought a few game highlights from the 2008 season. Interestingly, though I have bought the Super Bowl DVD, which includes the playoff games, I bought no iTunes highlights from their 2007 regular season. All the memorable games were in the playoffs.

In the Giants’ 2008 season they were defending champs but didn’t repeat as Super Bowl winners (Plax, their star wide receiver, literally shot himself in the leg and metaphorically shot the team) they played a bunch of memorable games. They played well a lot of the year and beat some good teams in dramatic games. It was a fun year through three quarters of the season, and for maybe the first time in my life, the Giants were considered the best team in football. At least for part of the regular season they played really good football. More good football than in the previous Super Bowl winning year’s regular season.

So what do I think about this years’ Giants regular season? It’s been kinda forgettable. It’s a bit like 2007. They have a talented team with a few too many injuries and are in position, if they win one final game, to make the playoffs but most of the year they’ve been inconsistent. They started out the year 6-2 but then went on a losing streak and are 8-7 right now. Most of their wins they won ugly. The lost ugly too.

The Giants haven’t made the playoffs since 2008 when they coasted in on the strength of their good record in the first three quarters of the season but then got beaten at home in their first playoff game. Their season had seen a downswing at the end and that continued in the playoffs. It was a disappointing end to a season where they had secured the number one seed in the playoffs.

The following two seasons, 2009 and 2010, saw them perfect playing well early in the year but then tank late in the season. I think they started out both years with around a 6-2 record but then lost enough games in the second half of the season to not make the Playoffs. Interestingly the Giants were 10-6 last year and that was not good enough to make the tournament but this year they or the Cowboys will get in at 9-7. That’s the weirdness of football for you.

The Giants/Cowboys game has already been “Flexed” to Sunday night. That happens at the end of the year when NBC and the NFL want a good game as the national Sunday night game instead of being stuck with a clunker that was scheduled back in August. They have the authority to move the start time of the game and take it away from another network.

I am not a fan of night games. Forget going to the stadium. My days of seeing a night game at the stadium are long over. I don’t even like watching them on TV at night. I don’t like waiting around all day for the game to start plus they’re just on too late for me. The Sunday night ones start at around 8:30 PM and end sometime after 11PM. I usually go to bed sometime after 11PM so it’s not like the game is on really-really late but who can fall asleep right after watching a football game?

After the game ends the adrenaline is still pumping. At least for a game that I’m into. If it were two teams I didn’t care about I could turn the game off at any time and fall asleep. When the Giants are in the game it’s a different matter. The more exciting the game the more time it takes to come down after it. I’m not falling asleep until 1AM after a night game. That’s just the way it is and why I don’t like them.

So what do I think of the Giants’ chances against the Cowboys? I really don’t know. What Giants have shown me this year is that they can beat anybody and they can lose to anybody. For some weird reason they seem to play better on the road than at home and this game is at home. The Giants playing in their own stadium shouldn’t make me more nervous than a road game but it does. I hope they win and get a good playoff run going but either way it has not been the most memorable regular season.