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By Mickey Charles, CEO, President - Archive - Email
They won the damn Super Bowl. Twice in five years!!

Eli Manning has finally come into his own for the New York Giants.
Hatboro, PA (Sports Network) - And now the Super Bowl champion New York Giants are 14-1 to repeat?

They beat the New England Patriots three straight over that span, two in the Super Bowl and one up at Foxboro. The Baltimore Ravens have no offense to speak of and their defense is vastly overrated. The New Orleans Saints are a scoring machine but erratic.

Houston is unpredictable and still experiencing growing pains. The Philadelphia Eagles will remain overrated for years; Michael Vick will not lead them anywhere but to and from the locker room and the anchor affectionately called Andy Reid will hold them back every year.

Pittsburgh and San Francisco both also are 14-1 according to those swimming in the Caribbean and taking the time to post these "future" odds and some from Las Vegas who are tossing darts at odds boards with the intention of confusing the public this early. Of course, they have sought the advice of voices from the past like Bob Martin and Sonny Reizner as well as what they hear from the bookmaking section of Mt. Olympus, where ancient gods make the rules for the plebeians on the planet Earth.

Everyone else is the proverbial long shot - Dallas, San Diego, Detroit and then those with prayers posted on their locker room doors, like the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals - all the way down to the Minnesota Vikings, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, each of whom come to work in a hopeless situation.

On top of that, the Giants are awarded a schedule that could have them a contender once again. Sure, they have to play the usual aggregation for their NFC East crown - Dallas, Philadelphia and Washington, all twice - but the others this year will be New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Green Bay, Cleveland, Pittsburgh - that group at home - as well as Atlanta, Carolina, San Francisco, Baltimore and Cincinnati on the road.

Objectively speaking, upsets aside, Dallas is getting better but only slightly, Philadelphia is more talk than talent and with a burning memory of the past season and two losses to an inferior team from the nation's capital, the Redskins, the Giants' toughest games figure to be San Francisco (talk about memories) and Baltimore (which might have beaten New England if not for an errant chippie field goal) on the road.

How does anyone look at the playoffs of the season past, the talent on this team, Eli Manning finally coming totally into his own with a corps of receivers who are arguably the best in the NFL, a defense they might shore up a bit more, a solid offensive line and only the need - maybe - for one break- away runner and make them a 14-1 underdog to win it all.

Why? Because no one thinks a team can repeat championships these days.

That theory might go out the window in 2012.

The point is not whether the Giants can come back just as strong or relax by resting on their laurels of this past season, going into one of their seasonal nose-dives without any reason, Manning reverting to a form that has probably been dissolved and forgotten, Tom Coughlin stalking the sidelines forever angry and animated, believing words of encouragement or a smile are a sign of weakness, and the team leaves its pride on the golf courses of the summer months - all that aside, they should be among the favorites.

When a team whose colors you are wearing on Sunday takes advantage of an error of its opponent to win, you love it, cheer and attribute it all to causing the fumble, never to an errant pass that fell into the defenders' hands or a ball that hit the turf starting a free-for-all to retrieve it because the handoff was sloppy. You claim the defense made it happen and your point of view is always predicated upon the particular shirt or hat you are wearing that day. The Giants beat Green Bay and the refs in Green Bay whether Aaron Rodgers and his receivers had a bad day or not; ditto New England and Indianapolis (site of the game), no matter what Tom Brady's lady said afterward.

It very well might not be the Giants again, but the operative word is "might" because it just might be. The odds-makers are not the final word, only the folks who give rise to columns like this one.

In Philadelphia, for example, as they do every year without success, they are already planning their Super Bowl parade. That does not interfere with thoughts of the Phillies making up for last season and heading to the big dance in the fall.

The NFL season is pretty distant right now and the Super Bowl even further away. But, coming out of the box and making the Giants less than a favorite up there with the Pats, Niners, Steelers, Texans, Saints, Ravens - well - you gotta be kidding!