Oh, how great it is to be a Giants fan at this point in my life.
Rewind to my childhood, growing up in Northwest New Jersey. Not the city. Out in the hills, where snow day meant sledding and skiing down the "big hill". Playing hockey on the same lake you swam in during the summer. And gaining an appreciation for all things Giant. What started as a fascination with a mediocre team in the late 60's became somewhat of an afterthought when, while hitting my "teen" years and living in Florida, my Giants languished in the 70's with a less than impressive eight losing seasons in the decade. It didn't help that the Dolphins were cranking out titles and that Fran Tarkenton (yep, the former Giant) was winging the ball all over the league. Not to mention that Steelers dynasty, of course.
But then came the glorious 80's. How could you not love the 80's? A whole decade about fun. So much fun, in fact, that my G-men managed to get off the schnide and win. Yeah, I know. They didn't win right away. But the addition of LT to the lineup was a harbinger of things to come.
I don't remember much of the first few years that decade, probably due to an excessive devotion to the greek life during college. I played more "quarters" and "Cardinal Puff" than I deserved. Must have done the trick, because for the life of me I cannot remember that horrible 3-12-1 season in '83. But I remember '84 and Phil Simms, and finishing 10-6 in '85 for a second CONSECUTIVE winning season. And of course the incredible run in '86.
From that point on, we turned the corner as Giants fans. We no longer expected losing seasons. A "decent finish" wasn't eight-and-eight. The Tuna brought us wins, and we expected them to come in spite of injuries and terror attacks. Fassell or Coughlin. OJ or Tiki. Didn't matter...for the first time since the Kennedy administration, we could go into any season with optimism and the expectation of a playoff birth. We were made.
And then came the knuckleheads. I never liked Shockey. I'm a Gator. Cocky 'Canes give me hay fever. Somehow this guy couldn't keep two things shut...his mouth or the team doctor's door. A distraction at virtually every turn, Shockey was nearly half as good as he imagined. With the arrival of Plaxico Burress in 2005, we now had knucklehead number two on board. We've always known Plax was a disaster in the making, we just didn't know that he would become a walking punchline.
I've decided that all of my future bonehead moves and self-mutilations will be simply referred to as "Plaxicos". Spill spaghetti sauce on a new shirt? "What a Plaxico I am!' Accidentally shoot myself in the leg, well, you know. Ditto.
What could be an unprecedented (for Giants fans) second consecutive Super Bowl season might be best known for the idiot-savant receiver who shot himself in the leg. God help me, we've had enough comedy and tragedy this year. My only Republican choice for President was the equivalent of Tim Conway without the "funny". The easiest bet to take this year was the "over" on gas prices. And then came Plaxico. Maybe he's not from the Vick School of Charm. The word "school" implies thinking, and what kind of sane thinking says, "Let's see, I'll bring my 40 into this Manhattan club and give it a click or two." Wow. Can you imagine the phone call to Coughlin?
"Coach? Yeah, it's me, Plaxico. I was at this club tonight and got shot in the leg. They think it was ME who did it!" If that ain't comedy for you, I don't know what is. The only saving grace right now is that Plax will probably be bringing his comedy show to another town REAL SOON!
So anyway, here's to ya, Plax. Thanks for making my Giants a punchline again. 40 years of hard work down the tubes.
(Well, at least until we win another Lombardi in January!)