It’s easy to lose sight of the positives when your team is 2-6 at the midway point, last in its division. Success in the National Football League is purely measured by wins and losses, style points don’t get you very far in the month of January. But you can’t summarily ignore the individual contributions and effort that players bring to their team. Professional football is a game that can easily mask the achievements of that rookie linebacker or second year wide out under a cloud of scoreboard futility.
Fans often ebb and flow with the final result, losing focus of the development and growth of various areas within the roster. These positives can eventually culminate in a turnaround season or give hope for something to build off of next year. The astute fan will dig deep into the signals being sent by their club and base their emotions on these signs, much like Alison Conigliaro-Hubbard has with her mid-season “Ali Awards” for her New York Giants. Hers is an interesting perspective and well worth the read.
The Ali Awards for the First Half: NY Giants
By Alison Conigliaro-Hubbard
Many people who know me understand that I rarely judge a book by its cover, and I always take look at a number of angles when it comes to analyzing a situation, a team, or a player. In fact, I was corresponding with one of my friends from the (esteemed) Sirius NFL Radio Heads group last week, who – like many – looks at stats and numbers to make his weekly picks. While I absolutely think that hard data and analytics are very important, I don’t believe it’s the only information needed to make a pick. Intangibles, such as strength of character, tenacity, risk-taking, leadership, teamwork, are all critical skills for any winning proposition.
So today, I’d like to acknowledge a few New York Giants for what I have seen from them in the 1st half of the season. In the next few weeks, I’ll also take a look at a few other teams.
Comeback Player of 1st 8: Do I even need to say it? T2, Terrell Thomas, put all doubters in their place, and has made everyone pay attention – this morning he even won recognition as NFC Defensive Player of the Week. His resilience, tenacity and steadfast commitment that he would make it back after being out 2 years and 2 ACL surgeries, is nothing short of miraculous and inspiring. I remember T2 before his 1st NFL ACL injury. He was prime for a standout season, and as a leader on the Giants Defense. To see him come back and look AS STRONG as he does then is an amazing testament to his dedication and work ethic. I couldn’t be prouder as a Giants fan. His adorable little girl (who he proudly and often shows of on his social feeds) has a daddy to be very proud of.
The ‘Come Hell or High Water We Are Going to Make BIG Things Happen!’ Award: This goes to the guy on the team who has become the outspoken leader of the defense, and passion leader of the team: Antrel Rolle. How many times have I mentioned I LOVE this guy? And now I am wearing a 26 on Sundays – because I started wearing it the week we started winning! This guy is socommitted to his team, his coaches, making things happen that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. He puts it all out there to rally the team and he tells it like it is. He’s a risk taker on the field and off in effort to benefit the team, and there is no question in my mind why he was nominated as a captain this year. Frankly, he reminds me of me when I have been at my best – and so he inspires me daily. (AND – he’s from The U – and so he’s in my alumni club).
Best Special Teams Play (too bad it was in the Pre-Season): DaMontre Moore for his MONSTROUS blocked punt on the 13-yard line during the pre-season game against the Steelers. The ball was recovered by Giants WR Louis Murphy and returned to the 5, setting up a 23-yard field goal by Josh Brown. The image of this play will go down in history and I can’t wait for MOORE from this guy.