You can always tell when the Super Bowl and the NFL season are over. There are some unmistakable signs and here are the clearest: fewer and fewer NFL articles appear in the local rags; hungry NY Knicks fans no longer have the Giants to take up their attention and with waaaay too much time on their hands to think, have decided that they want to trade Carmelo Anthony because he might interfere with the development of the newest star player on the team, who has played a grand total of 5 good games in his NBA career; two of the top 10 plays on ESPN Sports Center today were goals in a soccer game; instead of NFL game stories, the papers are filled with stories of coaches playing musical chairs and winning players explaining that they have outplayed their contracts and need more money; finally - blog posts are every other day rather than two per day.
OMG - so much more time on my hands now that the season is over, I just don't know what to do with myself. A good thing to do is to review various interesting statistics and results from the playoffs and from the season.
If you look up statistics on the NFL web site, you will find that Eli Manning is the leading passer, in terms of yards for the playoffs. Actually, that is not so surprising when you think about it, because the Giants are the only team to have played 4 games in the playoffs, so he had one more game to compile passing yardage. However, it is interesting to note that Eli threw for a little more than 1,200 yards. Do the math - that's a bit more than 300 yards per game. Not too shabby. Eli completed 65% of his passes with 9 TDs and 1 INT. I will say it again - the Giants won the Super Bowl because they have better players than the Patriots. And - in this QB driven NFL, it is also true that the Giants have the better QB.
Steve Weatherford had a great year for the Giants and was particularly good in the playoffs. His net yardage was 39.5, which is good, but that's really not the story. He punted 22 times through the 4 playoff games and landed 6 of the 20 inside the 20 yard line. The biggest plays he made were a wonderful catch and hold on a bad snap for that winning FG in the SF game and the first punt in the Super Bowl. He nailed a perfect punt which was downed on the 6 yard line. The Patriots first play from scrimmage was the intentional grounding penalty from the end zone. If Weatherford had not pinned them down on the 6, Giants don't get those 2 points.
As great as Eli is at QB and as great a year as Cruuuuuz had, Nicks is still the most dangerous player on the Giants offense and the one that makes it go. He was great in the playoffs and was probably the best WR in the league for the entire playoffs. Nicks led the league in playoff receiving yards, but he had the advantage of playing 4 games as opposed to other WRs, who played fewer games. However, he averaged 111 yards per game and had 4 TDs, both at or near the top of the league for playoff results.
Giants running game improved during the playoffs, but the pass blocking was weak, particularly Kareem MacKenzie, who was beaten often and gave up several sacks and pressures in the passing game.
What the heck was Mario Manningham doing wearing shades at the Grammys?