Monday, January 12, 2009


Blue Sunday Over Big Blue

I'm seriously hating Plaxico Burress today.

Yes, I know he wasn't solely responsible for the New York Giants' wretched performance Sunday. It wasn't his fault that Eli Manning was overthrowing open receivers. It wasn't his fault that the Giants defense -- for the third game this season -- couldn't sack Donovan McNabb once (though they did force one intentional grounding/safety). It wasn't his fault that Tom Coughlin reverted to the ultra-conservative style that had bedeviled him and the team so many times in the past (What? After realizing that the Eagles weren't giving up any short-term yardage, why not try a trick play involving your quarterback passing -- and no, not the dumb "wildcat" snap to Derrick Ward in the fourth quarter?) It wasn't his fault that kicker John Carney, near-perfect all season long missed two long, but makeable, field goals.

No, there were plenty reasons on the field that caused the Giants to lose (they didn't get the ball into the endzone once). But, it can't be ignored that the Super Bowl champions weren't the same after Burress' self-inflicted shooting and subsequent arrest. As many people have said, he was Eli's security blanket -- having the height and large wingspan to bring in Manning passes that less-talented (and shorter) wide receivers just can't get to (there were at leasst two passes that were an inch away from a receiver, where one thought, "Burress would have gotten that ball."

And, for that matter, even if Burress wasn't getting the ball, he was being double-teamed enough that it opened up passing and running lanes for other players.

That's a significant weapon to lose -- like the Steelers losing a Hines Ward down the stretch.

And besides that, arguably, neither Antonio Pierce nor Ahmad Bradshaw (in the club with Plaxico that fateful night) were the same down the stretch.

Thus, the epitaph for such a truly promising season for the New York football Giants this year: A foolish wide receiver shot himself in the leg and helped inflict a fatal wound to his entire team.

Thanks, Plax. Literally, couldn't have done it without you. And, disappointing as the end of this season was, this isn't such a great idea either.

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