Land of the Giants


Some good news-there are tickets available for a New York Giants football game at the Meadowlands.

Now for the bad news. The tickets are for end zone seats, the game is in 1996, and you have to watch the Giants play, if you decide to go. Oh well.

It's a funny thing that the Giants have actually sold out every game they have ever played in the Meadowlands and will be sold out there for many years to come. And the last time they had a winning season, Norm Snead was at quarterback and he led the NFL in passing. Ah, memories.

But it is easy to love the Giants. They have the greatest tradition of any team in football. If only today's Giants were the Giants of Ken Strong, or the Giants of Frank Gifford and Kyle Rote, or the Giants of Y.A. Tittle. They were definitely "giants" in those days.

Instead, today's Giants are as unpredictable as the Harvard-Yale game. Last season, they beat both Los Angeles and Tampa Bay, the teams that eventually met in the NFC championship. But they also got their helmets knocked off by lowly Baltimore in the season's final game.


This year, in the preseason they only scored 36 points. That's an average of nine points a game. The Pittsburgh Steelers eat nine points for breakfast.

Then, in the regular season's opening game, the Giants "exploded" against the St. Loius Cardinals for 41 points, including five touchdown passes by quarterback Phil "The one with the two M's" Simms. Wide receiver Earnest Gray caught four of those passes to set a new Giants' record. Al Garrett returned a punt 66 yards. They even won the game.

Last weekend the Giants went back to their accustomed style of the past few years, the old blow-it-in-the-last-two-minutes trick. Washington Redskins' placekicker Mark Moseley split the uprights with only 1:55 left to win the game, 23-21. Simms threw another touchdown pass, but he also threw three interceptions. The question now seems to be: which are the real Giants?

Simms is blossoming nicely under the tutelage of head coach Ray Perkins. He should be one of the NFL's premier quarterbacks for years to come. Earnest Gray seems to have finally settled down after rookie-season jitters.

On defense, the Giants have had a decent set-up for several years now. The linebacking trio of Harry Carson, Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelly is one of the finest in the league. Carson and Van Pelt have started in the Pro Bowl two years in a row.

The Giants get to show their stuff Monday night in front of a national television audience against the Philadelphia Eagles, a potential Super Bowl team.

I hope the Giants show everybody they're not a joke anymore. Of course, these days-these years-Giants fan always have to have a lot of hope.