Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Giants provide reference point for success

The New York Giants' Super Bowl victory can serve as a tremendous reference point for what a team has to be focused on to win a championship.

The Bleacher Report created a list of what teams (and specifically, the New York Knicks) can learn from the New York Giants:

* Defense wins Championships - Contrary to what everyone expected, Super Bowl XLVI was a low-scoring game.

All of the so-called expert analyses predicted anywhere between a 25- to 35-point shootout, but in the end, the Giants were able to come away with a win by only scoring two touchdowns.

How did they manage to do that?

One word: defense.

On the Patriots' first drive, pressure from DE Justin Tuck forced an errant Tom Brady throw which was ruled as intentional grounding from inside of the end zone, thus ruled a safety.

Later in the game, faced with one-on-one coverage out on an island, matched up with injured Pro Bowl TE Rob Gronkowski, LB Chase Blackburn came away with a game-changing interception that stole any momentum the Patriots had left.

Those two turnovers, plus holding the usually stagnant New England rushing attack to only 83 yards, is merely a testament to how pivotal stingy defense is to success.

* When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going - It wasn't too long ago that the Giants were in a similar, if not worse predicament than the Knicks are right now.

At 7-7, facing relentless win-or-go-home situations, the Giants never faltered.

With their backs against the wall, the G-Men shined even brighter, notching convincing wins over their hometown rival New York Jets and their division rival Dallas Cowboys to earn a Wild Card playoff spot.

They then continued to defy the odds against the Atlanta Falcons, the red-hot Green Bay Packers and the stingy defense of the San Francisco 49ers, all leading up to their Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots.

Even in the NFC Championship game, the 49ers hit Manning an appalling 18 times.

But did the future Hall of Fame QB give up?

No, Manning hung in there, sat in the pocket like a grown man and delivered accurate strikes to get his team to the Super Bowl.

* The Best Player on the Team Must Step Up and Fill His Role - Before the season began, Eli Manning's confidence was tested when he was asked whether he believed he was among the elite QBs in the NFL—i.e., Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees and his oh-so heralded older brother, Peyton Manning.

While his pitch and tone lacked confidence, his answer was a resounding "yes," and he's proven to be everything and more than the critics believed he wasn't.

* Consistency Is Key - This isn't something for the entire team to learn, but for the superstars to learn from the superstar.

Eli Manning, since the Giants' win-or-go-home victory over the Dallas Cowboys, has been nothing short of phenomenal.

In his last five games, since it's mattered most, Manning has only thrown one interception—a barely visible blemish compared to his 11 touchdown passes and 1,565 passing yards.

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