They did it: Tuck and his teammates looked at themselves in the mirror
JAIME C. HARRIS Special to the AmNews | 1/26/2012, 11:50 a.m.
There are many themes and messages that can be extracted from the New York Giants' improbable journey to the Super Bowl, positive tools that the everyday man and woman can apply to their lives.
The most obvious are persevering through adversity, the importance of self-determination, living with a sense of purpose and uplifting one's fellow man. Truth is, each of these jewels of wisdom have been articulated in some form by various members of the Giants during the course of this season.
Their 20-17 NFC championship victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park, which earned the Giants a berth in the NFL championship game against the New England Patriots on Feb. 5 in Indianapolis, reinforced the impact that positive thinking has had on them.
"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he," reads the Book of Proverbs. But it wasn't long ago that the Giants were questioning whether they possessed the mindset to make the playoffs, no less be Super Bowl finalists. The Giants' collective confidence was low after a crushing 23-10 loss at home to the lowly Washington Redskins in Week 15, which dropped them to 7-7, dangerously close to being eliminated from playoff contention.
Players questioned themselves and their teammates' desire to win, to do what was necessary in the face of unfavorable odds to fight their way into the postseason. The Giants subsequently engaged in some serious soul searching and found the resolve the following Saturday, Christmas Eve, to defeat the Jets by 29-14 in a season-changing victory. The rest of the story has become a part of Giants lore.
"A lot of it was us looking at ourselves in the mirror and [knowing] that we had the talent to play with anybody," said Giants defensive end Justin Tuck on Sunday, regarding the resurgence of the team in general and the defensive line specifically. "I always tell everybody once we get on the football field, it has to be 11 guys playing as one. Tonight it was 33 guys playing as one: the offense, defense and special teams."
Giants quarterback Eli Manning said his faith remained steadfast through trying times. "I kept believing in our team; that we could get hot, we could start playing our best football," he said. "We did that at the end of the season."
The Giants hope the best is yet to come.