The Green Bay Packers (and their fans) dominating Metlife Stadium in Week 13 has to be a wakeup call for the New York Giants organization.
Since the start of the 2017 season – and really for the better part of every season since 2012 – there have been plenty of embarrassing moments to be a New York Giants fan. However, yesterday’s debacle at Metlife Stadium had to leave even the proudest Big Blue fan disgusted with their franchise, after the Packers and their fans rolled into Metlife and took it over like it was their own.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, John Mara and the organization seemed more than willing to make the Cheesehead faithful feel right at home, as they reportedly offered up free brats (a Wisconsin and Packer game staple). I kid you not.
Meanwhile, if you were a loyal New York Giants season ticket holder, you still were forced to shell out 27$ for a bud light and a hot dog (a New York staple), with a side of misery. I’m surprised their thousands of fans weren’t given megaphones to make their, “Go Pack, go!” chants even louder.
While this may seem somewhat silly (and it is), it still speaks to how this era of the New York Giants seems more than willing to continue to trot out mediocrity as long as tickets are sold and people are coming to the stadium to buy concessions, no matter who those people are. It was hard not to laugh when the announcers started off the game by saying, “Welcome to Metlife Stadium where we have a sold out crowd,” but they weren’t lying.
The New York Giants have one of the longest sell-out streaks in all of professional sports, and still have a painfully long waiting list for season tickets. Until that changes, it wouldn’t be reasonable to expect much of anything else in terms of how this organization has operated recently to differentiate.
The stadium was to my eyes – at best – 65% full yesterday. Of that 65%, at least 40% seemed to be Packers fans. Maybe that 35% empty seat rate (and the lost concession/retail that comes with it) will be enough to start to get Mara’s attention? Listen, I’m not going to sit here and say Mara is as slimy (or slimy at all, really) as many other of the owners we see in professional sports, but it seems losing has become the status quo around here, and he has not made the necessary jarring changes, as he’s failed to go outside the organization’s network in any capacity for a decision maker in personnel.
As far as how the game went, it played out about how anyone who’s watched a lick of football this year would have expected. Daniel Jones looked really good early on – and it was a very positive sign to see him make big time throws in the snow – only to unravel late, as he felt pressure to make big plays with his team falling out of the contest (where have we seen that before?).
Aaron Rodgers‘ completion percentage may have been down just a tick from usual due to the elements, but it seemed as though any time he needed to make a big play he did so with comical ease. The Big Blue secondary was continuously burned for big plays, and the offensive line made communication miscue after miscue, which led to Jones being hit seven times.
And while we finally made it through a game without ‘Danny Dimes’ fumbling (despite three interceptions), it would have been far too much to ask without seeing multiple boneheaded mistakes from head coach Pat Shurmur. The one that sticks out the most to me came at the most pivotal juncture at the game for Big Blue (another theme that’s become all too common).
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After the Giants had kept this one close through three quarters, the Packers finished off a long touchdown drive early in the fourth to go up by eleven. Jones and the offense got the ball back and actually moved into Green Bay territory fairly quickly, only to have their ‘offensive genius’ of a head coach take them right out of the game.
After a Saquon Barkley run got stuffed on first down from the Packers 45, Shurmur ‘dialed up’ a WR reverse/sweep to a player that was just signed this week, in the snow, on 2/10, on arguably the biggest play of the game. The result? A fumble and a loss of eight yards, which led to Jones having to heave one down the field in desperation on 3/18 only to have it intercepted. Ballgame.
There were far more head-scratching decisions of offense and defense by the coaching staff, but I don’t really see a need to take a deep dive into them, as we’ve seen most of it before. The main thing that we all need to take from this game – and hopefully the organization does the same – is that something major needs to change.
The way in which this organization has conducted itself over the better part of the past decade has been archaic, and this once proud franchise has seemingly begun to get lapped by most of the rest of the NFL. John Mara has surrounded himself with only people he feels comfortable and has a long relationship with, AKA ‘yes men’.
Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur have not done their jobs – not by a long shot. But whether you put this recent streak of the worst play in the NFL (the Giants now have the worst record in the league over the past three years) on Gettleman, Shurmur, McAdoo or Reese, the one constant amongst all of them is John Mara.
Maybe seeing his home field be invaded by fans of a team that plays thousands of miles away, only to see that team dominate his for a team record eighth-straight loss on his 65th birthday will be the tipping point.
We can only dream.