In the last 10 seasons, the Giants have just one playoff appearance. Most of this is due to poor records, so the team doesn’t even deserve to get in. Sometimes though, teams don’t get in even when they do have winning records. Over the next 4 weeks, in honor of the NFL playoffs, we’re going to be looking back at some of those seasons for the Giants. To kick off the series, let’s take a trip back to 10 years ago, when the Giants were the defending Super Bowl Champions.
Boy do I wish it was 2012 again.
The Giants were coming off another improbable Super Bowl run, and fans were thinking that maybe we can be the next dynasty in the NFL. Well, maybe not all fans were thinking that way, but I sure was. For the first two months of the 2012 season, the Giants looked like the defending champs. Heading into November, the team was 6-2, and looked poised for a playoff run. Through the first 8 games of the season, the Giants were averaging 396.8 yards per game on offense, which would have finished 4th in the league if they had continued on that pace. The defense, on the other hand, was giving up 386.5 yards per game, a pace that would continue throughout the rest of the season. Even with all the yards they were giving up, they stayed steady only giving up 21.5 points per game to opponents throughout the whole season. The second half of the season saw the Giants offensive production drop off to just 314.1 yards per game. With the defense giving up the yards they were and the offense falling behind, the team would go 3-5 over the last 8 games of the year, finish 9-7, and miss the playoffs. This was the story of the Giants tenure under Tom Coughlin:
Late season collapses.
Sometimes the Giants were able to weather the storm and get to the playoffs, but other times like this, the Giants would miss getting into the big dance. Let’s take a look at some of the stars of the Giants 2012 season.
2011 was a magical year for Victor Cruz, and he didn’t slow down in 2012. The Giants receiver finished the year with 86 receptions, 1,092 yards, and 10 touchdowns in route to his only Pro Bowl appearance. The man throwing him the ball had a pretty damn good year as well. Although it wasn’t his unreal 2011 season, Eli Manning still made the Pro Bowl after finishing with 3,948 yards passing and 26 touchdowns. Jason Pierre-Paul also built off his breakout 2011 finishing with 6.5 sacks, 10 QB hits, 66 tackles, 13 tackles for losses, 1 interception, and 1 forced fumble. There were a couple of guys that had breakout years in 2012 that would unfortunately be their only breakout year. Safety Stevie Brown finished second in the NFL in interceptions with 8 and led the league in interception return yards with 307. Unfortunately, the next preseason Brown would tear his ACL and never return to his 2012 form. The Giants first round draft pick, David Wilson, also had a breakout 2012 season as a kick returner. He set the Giants single season record for kickoff return yards with 1,533. He also had one of the best touchdown celebrations in the game with his signature back flip.
Wilson looked poised to take over for Ahmad Bradshaw and be the Giants running back of the future, but a neck injury the next season would wind up ending his career in the NFL. Although the Giants season had its up’s for some players, it also was the end of an era for many Giant greats.
2012 was the last season in Blue for all of these players: Lawrence Tynes, Osi Umenyiora, Ahmad Bradshaw, Chase Blackburn, Chris Canty, and Domenik Hixon. Two years after that, the rest of the Giants Super Bowl Heroes were gone pretty much gone. 2012 was really the last hurrah the Giants had to try and run it back with a bunch of key members of two championship teams. Once that failed, it began a tough era of Giants football. Despite the disappointing end to the season, it did come with some classic Giant wins. The Giants had a comeback win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where Eli Manning threw for over 500 yards and Tom Coughlin wanted to fight Greg Schiano, they had a comeback win against Washington on a long touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, they beat the Cowboys after Dez Bryant’s fingertip was out of bounds on a potential game winning touchdown catch, they beat the Saints in David Wilson’s breakout game, and the season was closed out with an absolute blowout win against the Eagles in Andy Reid’s last game as the Eagles Head Coach. So, it may not go down as the best year in Giant’s history, but at least we have those games to remember it by.
If there is one thing that the Giants have proven over the years, it’s that as long as you get into the playoffs, then you have a chance to win it all. The 2012 Giants just missed the mark in trying to win back to back Super Bowl titles.
That’s why the 2012 Giants season will go down as one of the ones that got away.