Next weekend, the New York Giants will play their first postseason football game since Feb. 5, 2012, a span of 1,799 days.
And wide receiver Victor Cruz is already rubbing his hands together in greedy anticipation of a Super Bowl rematch with the Patriots.
"They don't want to see us," Cruz told the New York Daily News. "I'm sure if you ask them (they'd say) they'd play anybody, they don't care. I'm sure they don't want to see us. That's for sure."
Cruz bases that claim off the fact that the Giants beat the Patriots in Super Bowl 46, 21-17. That was 1,799 days ago. As I mentioned.
Cruz also said that the Patriots wouldn’t want to face the Giants because of New York’s win over the Patriots in the 2007 Super Bowl. That’s when Cruz was at UMass making one catch for the Minutemen in his first year of college football.
Cruz showed great enthusiasm, though, for the notion those games would have anything to do with a prospective game this Feb. 5 in Houston.
“Oh man, you can't even put it into words almost," Cruz said. "For it to be round three, us and them in another epic Super Bowl showdown. It'd be for all the marbles. The third time is when, I mean they'll have a lot riding on it, we will have a lot riding on it. It'll just be one of those moments you (couldn't) forget.”
We mock, but Cruz is, of course, right.
The only Patriots players with the team from the 17-14, Super Bowl 42 upset are Tom Brady and Stephen Gostkowski. But for them, the coaching staff and the fanbase there’s a visceral, involuntary revulsion that facing the Giants would bring. Especially if they were wearing white. SB42 on its own caused enough sports PTSD to last until death. SB46 only underscored it.
Both of those times the Giants took the long way home as they were a wild card entrant. They are the wild card entrant again this season.
But they remain giant killers. Dallas’ two losses this season both came at the hands of the Giants. And last season, even on their way to a 6-10 season in Tom Coughlin’s last year in charge, the Giants gave New England all it could handle in a tremendous game at MetLife Stadium that the Patriots won 27-26 on a 54-yarder at the gun by Stephen Gostkowski.
And while Coughlin’s gone, two key remnants from 2007 remain: slack-jawed, vacant-eyed Eli Manning at quarterback and Steve Spagnuolo at defensive coordinator.
Of course, while the Giants have been starring in Patriots nightmares for nearly a decade, what better way to exorcise those demons than to face them head on? Especially since Giants ownership relished turning the screws on the Patriots and Tom Brady throughout DeflateGate.
It’s worth noting that the case filed by the NFL against Brady listed the National Football League Management Council as the plaintiff, not Commissioner Roger Goodell. Mara is the chairman of the NFL Management Council.
Brady was suspended at Mara’s behest. In a delicious bit of irony, the 2016 Giants have waltzed through myriad scandals and missteps without ever facing either the league wrath and public condemnation the Patriots faced.
So Cruz speaketh the truth when he says, “Because of our history, no matter when or how we play them, no matter if it's regular season, preseason, postseason, there's an energy there. There's a rivalry-style energy there.
When you play a team twice in the Super Bowl, once when they were undefeated, the second when they were pretty darn good, we beat them both times and that's going to live forever. But it's definitely a rivalry."
The Patriots have held up their end by making it to the postseason every season since 2011. Now that the Giants are back in the playoffs for the first time in 1,799 days, we can start envisioning Round 3.