Archive for the ‘New York Giants’ Category

Anyone following North American sport cannot fail to acknowledge the NCAA College basketball tournament, where it is all about surviving in order to move on.

Unlike the debacle that is the current NCAA College football post-season, the basketball post-season is at least simple to follow. It is a simple knockout tournament. You win you stay alive. You keep winning you get to the ‘final four’ and then a chance to lift the shiny trophy.

The NFL have tried to capitalise on this wave of ‘bracketology’ discussions by launching their own knockout competition to decide the greatest ever NFL play.

With the parallel timing of the ‘final four’ NFL plays and the ‘final-four’ NCAA College Basketball games it’s all about getting to the final this weekend.

I am a little saddened that the final four NFL plays are dominated by modern-day plays; Marshawn Lynch running ‘beast-mode’ (2011); DeSean Jackson’s game winning punt-return touchdown (2010); Troy Polamalu’s ‘over-the-top’ tackle (2010). The remaining play is from 1988, Steve Young’s insane run through the entire Minnesota Vikings defense, and it is without doubt the best of the four (in my eyes).

If I had it my way I would have made the top 64 plays far more eclectic, with one play from every year over the last 64 seasons.

So where would I go with my top plays of all time? It’s a tough call and I don’t know the order quite yet, but here I go with some of my personal favourites…

  • Leonard Marshall forcing a fumble by Joe Montana in the 1991 NFC Championship game. I was 17 at the time and thought Joe Montana was invincible. That single play knocked the stuffing out of ‘Joe Cool’ and it was five Giants field-goals that gave the visiting team the win.
  • Darrell Green’s punt-return in the 1987 Divisional playoffs. Withe the scores tied 14-14 and a minus 10 wind-chill factor Green picked up a punt around midfield and ran it back for a score. Green had been playing cornerback all game and even tore his own rib cartilage half-way through the return after hurdling over a wannabe tackler.
  • Eli Manning’s 10 yard touchdown run at Wembley in 2007. For the 81,176 fans at the first ever regular season NFL game played in England it was the realisation of the dreams of fans like myself, who fell in love with the sport at a very young age but never even imagined they could see real NFL teams in a real NFL regular-season game. Manning’s scramble and the whole game may have been soggy and scrappy, but right there and then the NFL had truly ‘touched-down’ in England. 
  • Santana Moss’s 70 yard touchdown catch in 2005. Under four minutes left, down 13-0 and in Texas, Redskins wideout Moss caught not one but two bombs delivered by Mark Brunell. The second, a 70 yard catch, was the winner and helped his team to make it into the playoffs (later in the season).

More to come soon, but what do you think so far?

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We must never forget

It hasn’t quite sunk in that this Sunday marks 10 years since the atrocities of 9/11/2001.

I will always remember where I was – I was working in Coventry, England (home to Lady Godiva) in an open plan office.

A chubby guy called Barry who had dyed spiky blonde hair said that one of the World Trade Towers had been hit by an aeroplane.

Immediately myself and my colleagues in the marketing team went on the internet and we were hit by the fact sites were loading really slowly.

We knew Barry as a bit of  a comedian, but his face on that day was no joke, and soon we were all distracted from the day job wanting to find out what was happening on the other side of the pond.

I was living in a rented room at the time, but I did have cable tv in my room so as soon as I got home I was glued to my tv set, flicking between Sky News, ITN News and BBC News channels.

I don’t think I actually went to sleep, I was simply mesmerised by the images in front of me, images that I only thought existed in Hollywood disaster movies with aliens and superheroes.

I was right in one respect though in terms of there being superheroes in front of my eyes that night. There were thousands of superheroes on my screen in front of me on 9/11, superheroes without capes or masks, superheroes who lost their lives, superheroes who sacrificed their futures to try and save people that day, superheroes who wore civic uniforms, superheroes without x-ray vision or the ability to fly.

The men and women who died on 9/11 should be remembered on Sunday, along with those who survived but had their lives scarred forever, knowing they have seen people jump out of burning buildings or knowing they hadn’t taken that elevator up and had a chance to escape.

Sunday will again see teams suiting up and taking to the field from the two cities most devastated by 9/11, as the Washington Redskins play the New York Giants in Landover, Maryland.

It is extremely important that life does go on and we play America’s Game across the country 10 years on from the biggest act of terrorism in modern history.

Playing on Sunday is fantastic for NFL fans around the world, but we must never forget the day that changed the planet.

After almost two years behind bars its time to say 'Return of the Plax'

In the 1990s a British guy called Mark Morrison had his only true pop chart hit with a song called ‘Return of the Mack’. Now if you tinker with the lyrics ever so slightly you will be singing ‘Return of the Plax, You know that I’d be back.’

The Plax of course refers to former Super Bowl winning WR Plaxico Burress who went from hero to zero after literally (not metaphorically like most idiotic NFL superstars who have run ins with the law) shooting himself in the foot at a nightclub.

Plax served just under two years in a state prison (Oneida Correctional Facility in New York – somewhat inappropriately situated on ‘School Road’ in Oneida County)   before his release this month.

Rumour has it that the Philadelphia Eagles want the former jailbird to add to their receiving corps, joining the explosive but shorter DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin.

Plax did him self no harm to the natives of Philly after he came out of the prison sporting a red Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap (see here).

With 2011 Free Agency about as lively as Jabba the Hutt after 100 Philly cheese steaks there is nowhere for Plax to immediately go, apart from the free world.

Even though his journey to freedom did not involve crawling through a 500 yard long tunnel full of human excrement (a.l.a. Red’s narration in Shawshank Redemption “Andy crawled to freedom through five hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can’t even imagine”) he did have a pretty crappy time I can imagine.

On a fantasy football front I think Plax still has enough determination and talent to get about 50 catches for 800 yards and 5 touchdowns if Roger and Demorrio ever get their fingers out of their asses and decide that it is mutually beneficial to actually have an NFL season.

For all you Mark Morrison fans – here is the video I mentioned at the start of this post. Yes readers its that desperate during these strike ridden times, I am resorting to 90s pop videos.

I’m home, and watching a rom-com with my wife, all in all a very relaxing day. Time I thought to put on my NFL goggles and reminisce about the past decade. Someone pass the dry roasted peanuts please.

This giant Jason Taylor greeted UK NFL fans at Wembley in 2007

1) THE REAL NFL COMES TO ENGLAND IN 2007

It was a dream that I had since I first watched highlights of the Washington Redskins v Dallas Cowboys in 1985, getting to see real NFL football that mattered over here in England.

Guess I didn’t know back then that the NFL had already sent the St Louis Cardinals and the Minnesota Vikings to Wembley in 1983 to play a preseason game. 

 Now I was too young (and didn’t have enough pocket-money saved up) to go and see the Chicago Bears play the Dallas Cowboys (1986) or the Los Angeles Rams battle the Denver Broncos (1987) in preseason games in London, but I did make up for it.

From 1988 to 1993 I went to every NFL preseason game in London, watching the likes of the Miami Dolphins, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and even the Detroit Lions.

It was incredible fun (even though back then the NFL organisers had no bloody clue what an NFL tailgate party is) to see real NFL superstars play in front of me, even if it was only for a quarter or even in some cases a single sustained drive.

By the time we got to 1993 I was one of thousands of now quite educated NFL fans who found it a bit insulting to fly the likes of Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders over to London only to see them suit up for 5 minutes and then watch them spend the rest of the game eating sunflower seeds in jeans and t-shirts.

This must have got back to the NFL who pulled the trips over the pond, and instead focussed on other parts of the world, including Japan, Mexico, Canada and Australia.

Fast forward over a decade and we still have no further NFL games in England, but the rumours began after Roger Goodell becomes the NFL Commissioner in 2006, replacing the steady but not so ‘blue sky thinking’ commish Paul Tagliabue.

When it was announced at the end of 2006 that a REAL regular season NFL game was going to be played at Wembley Stadium I was more excited than Tiger Woods with a free VIP all access ticket to the Playboy Mansion.

He wore Leeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmmmmmoonnnnnnnn !

Yes the game between the New York Giants and the Miami Dolphins actually sucked. Primarily this was due to the godawful weather in London in late October, but we also had to witness the Dolphins trying to win a game with the legendary Cleo Lemon behind center (sorry Cleo I love you really).

The score really didn’t matter, nor did the quality of the gameplanning or execution of the plays, the fact we had an NFL contest that actually contributed to the storied history of the league was all that mattered.

Ted Ginn Jr’s first NFL touchdown will forever be frozen in time in the memory bank of each and every fan that was there at the game.

I for one will never forget the humongous Jason Taylor animatronics robot, nor the way the Giants and the Dolphins tore the hallowed Wembley turf to shreds, nor will I forget that each run, each tackle, each kick and each pass will be entered for real into the NFL Record and Fact book forever more.

Eli warms up for his Superbowl win with a win in London in 2007

Roger Goodell you did all of the UK and European fans of the NFL proud, and to boot the winning team from the 2007 game, the New York Giants, went on to win the Superbowl with a late late Eli Manning touchdown.

 Two further games down the line and it looks like the NFL will have TWO regular season games in the UK in 2010.

Can’t wait !