Sunday, November 30, 2008

The essence of "team"

No Umenyiora (injured). No Strahan (retired). No Shockey (traded). No Burress. Five new defensive starters. No players rank at the top of major stat categories.

And somehow the NY Giants aren't just better that last season when they won the Super Bowl (without a single Pro Bowl player), they're 10-1.

As the NY Times puts it: "The more anonymous they become, the better they get. The deeper they dig into their roster, the more they win. The Giants, despite their success, shine without much individual wattage."

Coach Tom Coughlin contends that it comes down to one thing: Team.

“That’s really what the essence of it is. That’s what this thing is all about for me: team."

Based on their comments, Giants players have bought in.

According to LB Antonio Pierce (shown here with Coach Coughlin and assistant Steve Spagnuolo):

“Once you have guys here complaining or being bitter about not getting the ball enough or not making enough plays, that’s what causes the problems. We’ve had that here. We don’t have that here now. That’s why we’re 10-1. I’d rather have 53 guys who play like Pro Bowlers, regardless of whether they get into the Pro Bowl or not. That’s what our team is.

We have 53 stars. Instead of having that one star-power guy, that guy that gets all the attention, all the love, every week reporters have somebody else to talk to, something else to write about. That’s good. That’s good for our whole team, because that means everybody’s shining. And if you’ve got your whole team shining, you can’t have nothing but a good team.”

Says Giants center Shaun O'Hara in this article:

“The one thing I can say about our team right now is whether we’re up 3 or down 3, up 7 or down 7, we have the confidence that we’re going to come back and win the game. A lot of us feel like that because we have done it before.

[After winning a championship] you raise your own standards as well as your team’s standards. You carry yourself differently because you do not allow yourself or your teammates to settle for mediocrity. You expect greatness from everybody. You’re no longer saying: ‘Oh, man, we didn’t get it done. Well, what are you going to do? We’re not perfect.’

Now it’s like, ‘That’s unacceptable.’ We know how good we can be when we play the way we’re supposed to play.”