(Long Island, N.Y.) It isn’t every year that you can come into training camp as the defending title holders of your league and barely be mentioned across the entire nation, let alone your own hometown. But that is exactly the case with the New York Giants, who unexpectedly won it all this past February and now can relax a bit as the new campaign gets under way.
They can thank their fellow MetLife Stadium tenants, the Jets, for all the missing hoopla. When Tim Tebow was brought in via trade with the Denver Broncos, it made the G-Men basically disappear and that has not changed with the opening of the team’s respective camps. ESPN has basically pitched a tent in Cortland and been breaking down every play that Tebow has made so far. Up in Albany, its business as usual.
“The biggest thing is to get our work in and realize last year was last year,” Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said. “Completely different year. That’s where our focus needs to be.”
Of course it does not hurt that a video camera and reporter are not dotting the sideline every square inch at every practice. That can become a distraction for players and coaches alike and it has to be somewhat of a relief that things have played out this way. It was a similar situation in 2008 when the Giants also won the championship but were outshone by the Jets’ acquisition of Brett Favre, although that occurred during the preseason and not the offseason.
Just as he did back then, Tom Coughlin is relying on his older players who have been through it before to guide the younger or new ones on the team. “The leadership factor in the locker room is key,” the Giants head coach said. “I’m counting on these guys to not only show that way, but also to take some of these young people under their wing and point them in the right direction, as well.
“The great thing about the mountain is that everybody starts the climb again at this particular time,” he continued. “I think that the quality of the people that we have in the locker room, and the veteran aspect of it, who have been through it; the message is well implanted. And I think that they’ll carry it through.”
Controversy is the furthest thing that the Giants have on their collective minds and that aspect has seemed to be a common ingredient on the other side of the stadium, if you will. From Rex Ryan’s bravado, to Santonio Holmes’s blowup and benching to bringing in Tebow – it always seems to follow the Jets. But the Giants have enjoyed much more success by toeing the line carefully.
A perfect example is Plaxico Burress, who was cut by Big Blue following his arrest for gun possession. Once he was released from jail, they wanted nothing to do with the talented wideout. But the Jets called and signed him to a one-year deal.
That in itself is a microcosm of the differences between the two clubs. And even bringing in a ‘saint’ like Tebow has become something that will have to be addressed week in and week out.
Isn’t it easier to get headlines by winning?