Don: Ok, even I got a little choked up. It’s amazing what a family bond sports can be. Now I’ll focus on a painful one, the loss to the Giants in the 2008 playoffs: I can remember every…single…excruciating…moment, with precise, stabbing detail.
The inexplicable decision to get away from a successful, season long formula: We spent all year starting Julius Jones, attacking through the air, then bringing in Marion Barber to hammer away at tired defensive fronts with the power run game. It worked to the tune of a 13-3 record and the second ranked offense in the league. But in this game, we started Marion Barber for the first time all season, played a power run game and we wore our own O-line out. They were dead in the second half, resulting in scoring a mere three points in second half.
A 42 year-old Armani Toomer (exaggerating, though only slightly), scoring a fluke 50 yard TD with three Cowboys (including sorry Roy Williams tripping over his feet) missing an easy tackle on a slow, old man. Third corner Jacques Reeves giving up 67 yards of 71 yards (including an awful 15 yard facemask on Reeves) on a CRUSHING Giants TD drive at the end of the half. Giants got the ball with a mere 53 seconds left in the half and scored after we dominated the half, leaving the game tied and our momentum squelched.
Anthony Fasano dropping a touchdown, when Tony Romo hit him right in his stomach, causing us to settle for three points in third quarter. R.W. McQuarters, who stunk, breaking a long punt return to set up a very short drive for their third TD. Patrick Crayton dropping what should have been monster gain, possibly a long TD, in the third quarter, when Romo threw a beautiful ball while scrambling. Poor Terry Glenn, limping all over the field in his last game. He didn’t play all season – there was no reason to trot him out there.
Terrell Owens being two steps slower from his ankle injury and not being able to beat the Giants coverage he utterly DESTROYED during the season.The beginning of the end of our offensive line, which showed its age in second half and got chewed up – Romo was running for his life. Andre Gurode sending one terrible, late, fluttering shotgun snap after another, giving the Giants defense a jump on the pass rush. Patrick Crayton pulling up on what up should have been the game winning touchdown pass.
I could go on with miserable details, all day. Overall, we out-gained them by more than 100 yards. We had seven more first downs, dominated time of possession and ran nearly 30 (!) more plays. Eli Manning had 12 completions and a whopping 160 yards passing. We had touchdown drives of 96 and 90 yards and zero turnovers until the last heave of game. And we lost.
This was the most painful game I can ever remember, due to a number of factors: my near irrational level of ire for the Giants – due to growing up in NJ and living in NYC; how we lost; it leading to their Super Bowl; the magic of that season coming to such a seemingly unjust and unceremonious end; and because it has been nearly nothing but misery since then.
Every other season ending loss was to a team that was better/played better. You could argue the Giants were hot, but we should have won this game. Will never let this one go. N-E-V-E-R.
Meredith: Remember how you said this wasn’t therapy? Maybe it should be. Seems like there are some underlying things here. I almost want to say, “Tell me more.” But really, that game was brutal and what made it worse was that I watched it with my ex and his friends – all Giants fans – and they definitely gave it to me hard. I should’ve broken up with him sooner. Ha. Ok, here’s my next one:
“I promise you, this is going to make it better because this season is going to be awesome.” It was the season opener in 1992. The Redskins were out to defend their title and despite flashes of greatness the year before, we just weren’t there yet, but my brother and I were certain that this was going to be our season. Then our parents told us – they were splitting up, we were moving, and nothing seemed right with the world. My brother went up to New Jersey before my mom, my younger brother and me, so he could start high school on time. This also meant we wouldn’t get to watch the game together.
So I sat on our couch and held my breath as the game started. On the Redskins’ first possession we smothered them for two losses in a row and on fourth down Issiac “The Gambler” Holt blocked the punt resulting in a touchback. The phone rang right afterwards and it was my brother – my grandmother allowed this special long-distance dial – calling to see if I had seen the play. “I promise you, this is going to make it better because this season is going to be awesome,” he said. He was right. No matter what, that year we had each other, Sundays and the start of our Cowboys dynasty.
Don: Seriously, can you tuck the emotional tales away? This is hard enough already.
Meredith: That’s the whole point! These are seminal moments in our lives!