EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.- It is only the fourth day of training camp, but the New York Giants and their fans have an important date circled on their calendars: Sunday, February 4, 2018. Every person in attendance at today’s open practice would voluntarily trade today’s crystal clear, 80 degree, New Jersey afternoon for a frigid February in Minneapolis, Minnesota for a shot at winning Super Bowl LII. After all, Giants’ owner John Mara recently told the New York Post: “You know it’s been a while now. 2011 [season] is a while ago. It’s time for us to win another one.”
In the past 10 years, the Giants have taken home the Lombardi Trophy twice: Super Bowl XLII (2008) and Super Bowl XLVI (2012). Who are the only two players on the 2017 roster who had played on those teams? Zak DeOssie and Eli Manning.
“[It’s] all or nothing. We approach every season trying to win the Super Bowl. We know what’s ahead of us and we know what we have to do to get there” Zak DeOssie told me after practice today.
There has been plenty of speculation about how Father Time will catch up to quarterback Eli Manning. At the podium after practice Friday, Eli, with a grin, told the media: “I know how old I am. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being 36. I’m proud of it.”
DeOssie has total faith in the ability of his teammate of the past ten seasons: “I dont see [Manning] wavering whatsoever…. Yeah, he’s older than most of his colleagues, but, can he do the job that they’re asking him to do? I’m thinking he can do it pretty well. Better than most, if not anyone.”
According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, the Giants opened the 2017 season at 25-1 to win Super Bowl LII.. Although their odds have improved to 20-1, the Patriots are still heavily favored. That does not seem to frighten Giants Nation, as they have taken down the Patriots in both of their most recent Super Bowl matchups. In Super Bowl XLII, the Giants handed them their first loss in the most important game of the season.
“It’s easy to draw a lot of similarities from those two great teams I’ve been a part of. There’s a lot of talent on paper here and it’s starting to show during training camp. [I’m] really excited to see what kind of edge we can get on the other teams and what kind of start we can get off to”.
What’s next? DeOssie told me that “it’s just a matter of bringing everyone together, getting everyone on the same page, and sprinkling in a little magic in there along the way”. Magic: the secret ingredient to make the Lombardi Trophy appear. One can only hope an enchantment will follow the Giants through their 2017 schedule, tied for the eighth toughest in the National Football League.
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