The New York Giants have not won a postseason game in the past seven seasons. Former head coach Tom Coughlin was fired by the Giants three years ago. Quarterback Eli Manning has not been selected to the Pro Bowl in the three seasons.
Despite all of that, the legacy of Manning and Coughlin’s Giants has grown tremendously in the past several years. Why has that happened? For an answer to that question, look no further than Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the big, bad New England Patriots.
Last weekend, the Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl in the Brady-Belichick Era. The six championships span 18 seasons, and the head coach and quarterback have been there for all of them. The Pats have gone 30-10 in the postseason since 2001. The Brady-Belichick Patriots are 2-1 in the Wild Card Round, 13-2 in the Divisional Round, 9-4 in AFC Championship Games, and 6-3 in Super Bowls.
That takes us back to the Giants. Big Blue is responsible for two of the Patriots’ three Super Bowl losses in the 21st century. The Giants are the only NFL franchise to have an undefeated record in postseason matchups with Brady and Belichick. They are also the only franchise to hold Brady and Belichick’s teams to 17 or fewer points in each postseason meeting.
Other teams, for the most part, have not been able to check all of the boxes that need to be checked in order to win a postseason game against the Patriots. The Atlanta Falcons, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Seattle Seahawks all had double-digit fourth-quarter leads in their most recent postseason battles against New England. Of course, none of those teams were able to successfully piece together a put-away drive in the fourth quarter. Nearly every team that has beaten the Patriots has led a big-time scoring drive that has either taken a lot of time off of the clock or has left Brady and the Patriots offense with almost no time to score a touchdown of their own.
Teams such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams were undone by untimely penalties, lack of ball control, and poor clock management. The Chiefs defense and Rams offense did not, as Belichick would say, “do their jobs” when they needed to. Kansas City committed an offsides penalty that negated a game-sealing interception, while Los Angeles was called for offensive holding at a key point of a big drive in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIII. The Pats easily outpaced those two opponents in time of possession. The Patriots’ dominance in time of possession caused the Chiefs and Rams defenses to be exhausted and unable to make key fourth-quarter stops. Furthermore, the Chiefs showed poor clock management skills when they scored too early and gave Brady and the Patriots offense a lot of time to execute a game-winning drive. Meanwhile, the Rams ran the play clock down on too many plays and took a long time to get into their offensive sets.
The 2007 and 2011 Giants may not have been as talented as any of the aforementioned teams, but they were disciplined, well-coached, and made plays when they needed to. The accomplishments of those Giants teams are more impressive now, since the Patriots have won six Super Bowls in the past 18 seasons.
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