Top 5 Giants storylines of 2013

Pardon the Giants if they opt to ring in the New Year by making a resolution to never, ever speak of 2013 again. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. A season that began with expectations of becoming the first team in NFL history to play a Super Bowl in its home stadium devolved so quickly that it became evident quite early this would be the franchise’s first losing season since 2004, back when Tom Coughlin arrived and a rookie named Eli Manning was learning the ropes.

Here are our top five storylines of Big Blue’s 7-9 year:


Let the countdown begin

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In his training camp opening address, GM Jerry Reese pointed out qualifying for the playoffs one time in a four-year span was not acceptable and not the Giants’ standard. “We want to put everybody on notice, myself, everybody is on notice,’’ Reese intoned. The ominous words sure sounded like a warning, followed by this pronouncement from Reese: “We want to do better and we will do better.’’ With that, Reese installed a Super Bowl countdown calendar in the Giants locker room, reminding everyone how many days remained until Super Bowl XLVIII, to be played at MetLife Stadium. The message was clear.


The sickly six

It was like a living, breathing, sinister entity, an aura of futility that engulfed the Giants, suffocating them at every turn. One loss led to another, following them from Dallas to Charlotte to Kansas City to Chicago, the ghastly specter of turnovers infecting the hearts and minds of a team that refused to win. Suddenly the Giants in mid-October were 0-6 and setting franchise records for futility.


Fallen by the wayside

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New York Giants v New England Patriots

There is only so much tape and ice and treatment a body can take before it gives out if the injury is severe enough and just like that, the Giants’ offensive line went from sturdy and dependable to depleted and suspect. Right guard Chris Snee and center David Baas broke down, and the line never really recovered. The coaching staff looked forward to a 1-2 punch at running back featuring the speed of David Wilson and the pounding of Andre Brown. It never happened. Brown broke his leg, again, in the preseason finale and missed the first eight games. Wilson barely made it into October before a serious neck issue ended his season. 


The mirage

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Giants Cowboys

A four-game winning streak in a 16-game season should never be overlooked and there was a moment – albeit brief – when the Giants looked as if they might be able to salvage something from the wreckage. They feasted on a series of backup quarterbacks and, shockingly, pulled within a game of first place in the mediocre NFC East. Was this going to be another Tom Coughlin miracle run? The buildup for the Nov. 24 game against the Cowboys was intense, as this was indeed a battle for a share of the division lead. It turned out to be the season’s highlight and lowlight all wrapped into one unsatisfying 24-21 loss, as as Tony Romo led a game-winning drive and the Giants closed their eyes on the faint glimmer of contention.


Armed and dangerous

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Giants Seahawks

Eli Manning helped capture two shiny Lombardi Trophies and vaulted near the top of the NFL pecking order, but the $100 million quarterback endured a brutally bad season, his worst in his decade with the Giants. His first and last passes of the season were intercepted, and he finished with 27 of ‘em, tops in the league. He suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday’s season finale, exiting at halftime. Sure, there were all sorts of offensive breakdowns around him, but Manning certainly contributed his share of follies, raising the question of whether, at 32 years old, his best days may be behind him.