It's difficult to make generalizations about the New York Giants' season this early, unless you're me, in which case it's very easy. I would venture to say that the season is lost, and in order to find it, someone is going to have to send out the proverbial search party, where people wear yellow helmets with lights on them, except that those people will be searching for a while because a season is not a tangible object that can actually be found. So maybe instead of saying that the season is lost, I should instead say that the season is over, minus the little formality that the Giants have fourteen more games to play.
Yes, I am aware that the Giants won this past weekend, defeating the Washington Redskins 20-14. They even looked, dare I say "pretty good" at certain points. But the Redskins, who were working with the vaunted Brunnel-Ramsay two headed monster at quarterback, actually turned the ball over SEVEN times. Using my football mathematical equation, that means that the Giants should have won 95-3. Instead, the Redskins had a chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter, until they turned ball over. Again. I would like to give the Giants credit where credit is due, but I can't, because that would ruin this whole column.
You didn't need an expensive telescope to forsee how the Giants season was going to go, for several reasons. First, telescopes don't see into the future. Secondly, it was apparent from the outset that no major improvements occurred this offseason for a team that finished 4-12 last year, on the heels of an 8-game losing streak. And I know what you're probably saying to yourself, "What the heck are you talking about, idiot!? The Giants hired a new coach, drafted a franchise quarterback, and signed a two-time MVP with a grey beard!" And you'd have a point by saying that. But ironically enough, it is that very same grey beard that signifies the main problem with the Giants in 2004: Beards don't win football games (most of the time). Oh, and several players on the team aren't getting any younger.
To use an analogy that I think is quite relevant in this case, the Giants are like a football team - let's call them "the Giants" - that have several veteran players on the downside of their careers, and also several young, and very talented players that represent the future of the organization. The only problem with these "Giants," however, is that the future is NOT now. It's in the future.
So you can see how this scenario compares to the Giants, who are in a very similar situation, but from a football standpoint. For example, Kurt Warner is a former MVP, which is good and all, but the Giants would be much better off with a current MVP. Will Eli Manning, the new face of the franchise, ever be that "current MVP?" It's difficult to say. But I believe that he has a much better chance than say, oh I don't know, Kurt Warner. In fact, I would say that if Eli Manning ever manages to rid himself of that "I'm so scared I can't remember what to do" aura, that he will be the best quarterback the Giants have had since Kerry Collins.
The Giants also have a very young offensive line, which is, quite appropriately, trying to protect their grey-bearded quarterback, who, when tackled, sometimes actually just hands the ball to the other team. And any moron knows that it takes several years for an offensive line to jell, at which point they create an impenetrable wall of protection that eliminates sacks and produces 1,800 yard rushers with ease. For the Giants, this point isn't scheduled until 2007, so it's important for everyone to be patient.
The Giants are also fortunate enough to have one of the youngest, and most talented tight ends in the league, Jeremy Shockey, who can easily intimidate the opposition by making the first down signal after a three yard catch, even if he just dropped the last ball thrown to him. That is the kind of fortitude the team will need heading into the future. On the other side of the ball, the Giants boast several young talents all named Will - Will Allen, Will Peterson, and William Joseph - that have the potential to be the next generation of a tradition-based Giant defense. Plus, if you take the "son" off of "Peterson," then all of these guys have two first names, which is good news for a football player. Just ask Marcus Allen. And Lyle Alzado (minus the "zado").
Which brings us to the present state of things. The Giants are in a transition period, which is to say that they're trying to transition from 4-12 to 12-4. But this can't happen overnight. In the middle of that transition there is a period called "what the heck is going on here?" and that is where the Giants are at right now. The core of this team in 2000 - Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, Amani Toomer, etc. - are still hanging around waiting to collect their 401k. Plus the organization brought in Warner, who management thought would provide "a chance to win now," except "now" really meant "four years ago." And "now" the Giants are stuck in an ultra-tough division with no way out, unless they get to play the Redskins at home for the rest of the year.
So the bad news is that the Giants aren't that great. The good news is that I have them winning the Super Bowl in 2007. But the bad news is that I had the Colts winning the Super Bowl last year. But then again, I didn't have my telescope.