Deja vu for Giants as they head to Super BowlNEW YORK - As the euphoric New York Giants return to practice this week after winning the National Football Conference title, they have an eerie sense of deja vu about their march to another Super Bowl showdown with the New England Patriots.
Just as the Giants had to dig deep four years ago on their way to Super Bowl success over the Patriots after an improbable playoff run as a wild card, this season they had to rebound from a four-game losing streak before peaking in time to reach the National Football League finale.
Making the parallel even eerier, in 2008 and again on Sunday at a wet Candlestick Park, it was a game-winning field goal by Lawrence Tynes that earned New York a Super Bowl ticket.
“It is kind of eerie,” defensive end Justin Tuck beamed as he spoke to reporters after his team’s hard-fought 20-17 victory in overtime over the San Francisco 49ers.
“We have tried to kind of downplay it all in this playoff run, but I would be lying to you if I told you it didn’t feel like ’07. I mean, we are playing the Patriots again.”
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin, who plotted New York’s Super Bowl success in 2008 at the expense of the previously undefeated Patriots, was asked how he felt about the uncanny parallel of the field goals by Tynes in the two title games.
“I’m trying to fight it,” Coughlin replied with a broad grin. “The players, actually [defensive end] Osi [Umenyiora], he sat next to me and just looked at me with a smile on his face.
“Then he said, ‘Have you thought about how this is coming down? Do you realize that this is scary because of the way it’s coming about?’ That’s a little deep for me, I guess.”
What is remarkably similar, though, has been the sheer grit and drive by the Giants to keep both seasons going even when things looked bleak.
After launching this campaign with six wins in eight games, New York fell to 6-6 and then 7-7 before reaching the playoffs with a victory in the regular season finale three weeks ago.
“Because we had jumped out early, and the race for the NFC East was so tight, that was a constant as well,” Coughlin said. “I felt like we were always in contention to win the division, even when things weren’t going as well as we’d have liked them.”
Asked how the Giants had been able to keep their season alive, Coughlin replied: “By just staying the course, never saying ‘never,’ trying to encourage at every point throughout the season whether it was good or bad.
“By not denying any of the facts, but nevertheless seeing that we had a talented team, believing in that team, thinking that if we could only get all of these pieces together, maybe we would have a chance to make ourselves recognized.”
Giants quarterback Eli Manning broke New England hopes of a perfect 19-0 season four years ago when he led New York to the Super Bowl, winning the MVP award. “You can say [the showdown on Feb. 5 looks] similar, but that does not mean that the outcome is going to be same,” Manning said. Reuters