Where 2007 NY Giants rank among franchise’s champions

The New York Giants have won four Super Bowls, including the magical 2007 team that slayed Tom Brady and the unbeaten New England Patriots

Ask any New York Giants fan what he or she thinks is the most lasting memory in Big Blue’s history, and there’s a good chance you’ll hear the phrases ‘helmet catch‘ or ’18-1’.

Those phrases are tied to one of the great shocking runs in the history of modern American sports. And, in this writer’s opinion, the greatest underdog run through the postseason in Giants lore as well.

What separates the first upset of postseason legend Tom Brady and his New England Patriots from the second in 2011 is that no one, and I mean no one, had the Giants winning that game. Oddsmakers had the Pats favored by as many as two touchdowns in some sportsbooks at the time.

In fact, no one had the 10-6 Giants favored at any point that postseason. They beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dallas Cowboys, and Green Bay Packers consecutively on the road en route to the NFC crown.

The 2011 team won the NFC East title with nine regular-season wins, while Tom Coughlin’s first Super Bowl team had to navigate an NFC as a #5 seed with double-digit victories.

Now, I’ll be completely forthright. The 2007 team will always hold a special place to me in a way that the 1986 and 1990 teams never did. In March 2008, my grandfather–who lived in my home and essentially served as a third parent growing up–passed away after getting to witness one final NY Giants Super Bowl win with his Big Blue super-fan son (and my uncle). I wasn’t alive when Bill Parcells lifted the Lombardi Trophy for the first two times in franchise history after a 14-2 run in 1986 and a 13-3 record in 1990.

Even still, the 2007 team resonates in ways beyond those aforementioned personal reasons as well.

Eli Manning was doubted beyond comprehension back in 2007. Peyton Manning had just won his first ring in 2006 with the Indianapolis Colts, and many questioned whether Eli was fit to be a starter anywhere, let alone a city with as much polarizing media coverage as the ‘Big Apple’.

Eli was experiencing the pain of any younger sibling who had lofty goals to live up to because of big brother. The younger Manning then experienced a pleasure 10x as intense.

Eli responded to that struggle by leading the 2007 NY Giants to the postseason after overcoming a 2-6 collapse at the conclusion of the 2006 season. Then, of course, there was the three-game postseason win streak that put New York opposite the most successful NFL team in history up until that point on the grandest stage in sports.

The rest, as they say, is history.

When it comes to defeating an all-time legend at the top of his game who was undefeated the entire season in a championship game as +14 point underdogs, there’s very few ways to describe such an act that don’t include the most positive of superlatives.

Manning would be a living legend in NY even if he never won Super Bowl XLVI. Beating the 2007 Patriots will forever go down as the easiest sports example of David defeating Goliath on any given Sunday.

To me, that puts Super Bowl XLII at the top of the pantheon of NY Giants greatness.