These guys know how to gin up a controversy.
Paul Schwartz, a columnist for the New York Post, devoted an entire column today to lamenting the fact that the New York Giants have few externalities ginning them up for the game this Sunday. The Giants, he argued, need that kind of motivation to play at their best; they need a chip on their shoulder. The article was headlined: “No Chance in Hell.” The subhead: “Hey, Blue, Pin That on Your Bulletin Board.”
THE PACKERS probably won’t do it, won’t comply in sucker Cowboys fashion, won’t set a dumb trap for themselves by opening their mouths or escaping Green Bay to head to a warmer spot (Nome, Alaska, perhaps?) with their celebrity babes for a few days of R&R. They won’t rile up perpetually-riled Brandon Jacobs or give Plaxico Burress the desire to once again redecorate his locker or utter as much as a peep, which is all Antonio Pierce needs to sound the alarm (or air horn).
None of this works for the Giants. Mere underdog status isn’t enough. Their coach is being hailed as The Great Communicator and their quarterback is now The Younger Brother Who Could. No one is assailing their character, commitment or confidence. For a team that admittedly thrives on beat-downs and put-downs, there’s simply not enough here to whip them into an “I told you so” frenzy…
The best way to jump-start the Giants is to disrespect them, tell them, “No you can’t” when they think “Yes we can.” It’s for their own good.
What was that about no one assailing their character? If there’s no villain, make one up.
Our friend Greg Bedard had a perfectly reasonable article this morning noting that the New York Giants have a reputation for dirty play. That’s hardly a controversial thing to say. Anybody who watched the Week 2 games must remember Plaxico Burress’s late hit on A.J. Hawk, one of the more egregious late shots I saw all season. And the Sean O’Hara hit on Aaron Kampman that serves as the basis for much of Greg’s article was just as bad. The Giants did this all year long. And Bedard started his article by pointing out that Kampman didn’t want to talk smack. “Aaron Kampman didn’t want to talk about it Wednesday. He took the rather diplomatic approach of not providing the New York Giants with anything that could be deemed bulletin-board material.” The article quoted three other Packers saying that they were aware that the Giants like to take their shots and pledging not to be baited into fighting back.
It was a good, straightforward story, but otherwise unremarkable. In typical New York fashion, if the Giants need a controversy to get fired up, count on the media to do that. By day’s end, they had.
So then came this article in the New York Post. It was splashed across the front of the New York Post website under a banner “breaking news.” And the headline “Sean Says ‘We’re Not Dirty.'”
Once again, an opponent sent disparaging words hurtling toward the unsuspecting Giants. Last week, it was mouthy Cowboys receiver Patrick Crayton who conjured up Giants trash talking (that no one quite recalled) as proof they were either scared or not confident in their ability to win at Texas Stadium. The Giants took great delight in reminding Crayton of his boastful words after their 21-17 victory bounced the Cowboys from the playoffs.
The Giants sounded slightly amused that the Packers, three days before the game to determine which team gets to Super Bowl XLII, were worried about late hits and rough stuff.
Suddenly, in a quick turn that is hard to do if you’re anywhere other than New York, it wasn’t the Giants that are a dirty team, it was the Packers who were talking smack. Huh?
“If they want to talk, let ‘em talk,” said left tackle David Diehl. Umm, who was talking?
We’ll give former Packer Grey Ruegamer the last (very tasteless) word. “Any D-linemen calling offensive linemen dirty, that’s retarded. They take their shots, we take our shots. I’m not going to go home and get whiny about it.”
UPDATE: Be sure to check out some of the reactions to Greg’s piece from Giants fan. He posted the publishable ones on the JS Online Packer blog. Hilarious.
UPDATE II: Tim Canavan, an AP sports writer, quotes Grey Ruegamer a little differently in this article. Did he change the quote to make it less offensive? If so, that’s offensive.