The New York Giants are the defending Super Bowl Champions for the second time in the last five years.
Led By Eli Manning, they upset the Patriots in Super Bowl XLII and denied them the record for the most wins of an undefeated team in NFL history.
Four years later, they Giants upset the Patriots again in Super Bowl XLVI and Eli Manning leads the family with two Super Bowl wins to brother Peyton's one.
Usually before a season starts the defending championship team usually gets the most press attention in their hometown and many critics give them positive predictions of where they will be in the season if they make the right offseason moves and still keep the core of their team intact.
Well, the Giants have their core players and have added some new talent in the offseason but they're not getting the preseason buzz that other teams are getting.
Most of the attention of the New York media has been on the New York Jets with the drama of the quarterback competition of starting quarterback Mark Sanchez and star backup Tim Tebow. The Giants don't even make the back page of the sports page often as the Jets do.
Also, while the Giants do get praise for their wins many still think other teams will do better than they will. Even Peter King in his Sports Illustrated 2012 NFL preview predicts the Giants will miss the playoffs while the rival Cowboys will and that other previous NFL champion franchises in the NFC (the Packers and the Saints despite the bounty saga) will have better records than them.
So why are the Giants so under-reported and not getting the recognition they deserve? Well one can look at they way the Giants have played down the stretch in the latter half of the regular season.
They usually get off to a great start but struggle in the end to clinch a playoff spot. And while last season's championship run has put the disastrous collapse at the Meadowlands in 2010 at the hands of the Eagles far into a distant memory, they still haven't been able to clinch a first round bye and their last two Super Bowl wins have all come after the they had to go through a long single elimination trip on the road.
The Giants only home playoff game last season as a division champion was a wild card card game against the Falcons. The Patriots, Packers, and Saints have been among the game's elite and have not only much of the best quarterbacks in the game (with Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees) but they have clinched their division titles early before the regular season ends.
Even the Colts before Peyton Manning moved to Denver clinched their division titles early too, and would earn good predictions from experts even though they won only one NFL title during Peyton's tenure at Indianapolis.
Then there's the personality factor. Eli Manning is not Tim Tebow in having a personal background get a player attention off the field. Tom Coughlin is a quiet coach and is not Rex Ryan who is outspoken personality in many of the Jets' press conferences are a SportsCenter highlights.
The last time the Giants had a huge personality was Michael Strahan and now he's on the Fox NFL Sunday show and, according to sources, will be Kelly Ripa's new morning co-host.
The only player on the team that does something to draw attantion is Victor Cruz and he his end zone salsa dances have been fan favorites.
Eli Manning usually lets his play do most of the talking and after years of inconsistent play, he's coming off his best year as an NFL quarterback. He not only led the Giants to a title but he also passed for 4,933 yards last season which is a career best.
He's also appearing in many commercials with Deion Sanders and Peyton Manning as fireflies in the DirecTV spots so he's getting up there in terms of marketing appeal.
But here's the big reason while the Giants can succeed in defying expectations again. There have been teams who like to be low-key and let their play do most of the talking. The Patriots are a clear example.
Like the Giants, the Patriots have not relied on high profile free agents to build a winning franchise. They bring in chemistry and scout low-round draft picks and mold them with the veteran players into a Super Bowl contender.
The Patriots, Packers, Saints, and Steelers have succeeded under this method from the front office to the coaching staff while other teams who've been hyped as playoff contenders like the Jets, Eagles, Bears, Vikings, Eagles, and Cowboys failed to live up to expectations.
The New York Giants are a low-key team in a high profile town playing under the radar while the most of the focus is on the Jets. It's too early for predictions and even though the Jets lost their preseason games their still time for them to prove they can live up to the hype and expections just as what is expected by fans of the other 31 NFL teams.
But the Giants are a team that shouldn't be counted out and are doing what they like to do before a game -- let they're playing on the field do the talking.
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