What If Plaxico Burress Didn’t Shoot Himself?

Plaxico Burress giants super bowl 42
Plaxico Burress giants super bowl 42 /
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Plaxico Burress was one of the best free agent signings in New York Giants history, ranking second on my all-time list. His Giants career was cut short in November 2008 when he shot himself in the leg at a New York city night club. But, what if he didn’t?

Last week, former Giants middle linebacker Antonio Pierce went on the Russillo & Kanell show and revealed details from the night he was with Burress when Plax shot himself. The most interesting takeaway for me was Antonio’s unflinching belief that if Plaxico didn’t shoot himself, the Giants would’ve repeated as Super Bowl champions.

When Giants General Manager Ernie Accorsi signed Plax in March 2005 to a six year, $25 million contract (after walking away from a deal a week before), I remember running down the streets of Hoboken repeatedly chanting, “Here we go, Plaxico!” Three years later, I’d be grumbling, “Oh no, Plaxico” with my head in my hands.

Tom Coughlin’s first season as head coach in 2004 saw the Giants go 6-10 as the baton passed from veteran free agent acquisition Kurt Warner to Ole Miss rookie Eli Manning. It was clear Big Blue desperately needed an upgrade at the wide receiver position. Tight end Jeremy Shockey led the team in catches with 61 and touchdown catches with six. The second most receptions? Running back Tiki Barber with 52.

Amani Toomer, the team’s #1 wideout was third with 51 catches, though he did lead the team in receiving yards with 747 and targets (107). Injury-riddled Ike Hilliard was only 28 – the same age as the eventual free agent Burress – but, as reporters noted, Ike could barely walk after games, so the Giants released him in the 2005 offseason. Second Round 2002 Draft pick Tim Carter only played in five games that year and only got above 300 receiving yards once in his career. David Tyree was more of a special teams guy than a dependable target.