The Alties – TGI Dishes out Giant Awards

This week, the best seat in the house is set up on a podium in my television room, the one I had built especially for watching the Giants play in the Super Bowl and hosting award shows. It's right next to the refrigerator and microwave in an effort to conserve energy.

Who knew I'd have the chance to take part in both gala events this season?

But before I proceed with this week's festivities, I must, in an effort to promote fairness and honesty, admit I predicted the Giants would win four games.

So, as I prepare to distribute my post-season awards to the Big Blue – and I hope you like the tuxedo I rented for the occasion – I must begin by giving myself the first one:

The Dope Award: Me.

If I sound a little rushed you'll have to excuse me. I have just accepted the marriage invitation of Ines Gomez Mont, the hottie from TV Azteca in Mexico, who showed up at last week's Super Bowl Media Day in a short white wedding gown and asked Tom Brady – and about 100 others – to marry her.

I guess when Lonie Paxton turned her down it was time to ask the sportswriters. I said fine, but only after I get my grocery shopping done and file this column.

And now, in celebration of the Giants' fourth Super Bowl appearance, I am proud to award these lucky players, coaches, administrators and hangers-on "The Alties."

Disclaimer: I have no actual trophies to distribute. But if the winners would like to stop by my house, I have bottled water in the refrigerator.

Offensive MVP: It's not so much for the 23 touchdown passes and 3,336 yards he accumulated in the regular season, but for the poise with which he led the Giants through the playoffs. Congratulations to Eli Manning, who should never have to hear another discouraging word for the remainder of his career.

Defensive MVP: Antonio Pierce? Nope. Michael Strahan? Nope. Osi Umenyiora? Nope. The breakout player on Steve Spagnuolo's energized unit was Justin Tuck – and now he has a nice, new, fat contract to show for it. His versatility along the line and his 10 sacks turned him into an impact player that offenses were forced to fear.

Special Teams MVP: Given time, this award could have gone to Domenik Hixon, who looked electrifying on many of his eight kickoff returns. But sentimentality leads me again to punter Jeff Feagles, perhaps the team's most consistently productive player. He landed another 25 punts inside the 20 this season and his poise as the field-goal holder in Green Bay should never be discounted. He belongs in the Hall of Fame.

Best Coordinator: If the Giants have another great season in 2008, Spagnuolo is going to be even hotter than he is now; in a professional sense, that is. I mean, I think he's handsome; I just don't want my feelings for him misconstrued. The transformation of the Giants defense, with just a few personnel changes, was amazing. His popularity is reminiscent of the frenzy that surrounded John Fox and Sean Payton at Super Bowl XXXV. And look at them both now.

Rookie of Year: In terms of impact, the year's rookie class was extraordinary. In many ways every player selected, with the exception of Adam Koets, the offensive tackle taken in the sixth round, contributed in grand fashion. But the award goes to halfback Ahmad Bradshaw, the 250th player taken in the seventh round. The Giants may have another David Meggett. Watching him dashing through the snow on his 88-yard score in Buffalo was one of the season's best moments.

The ‘Who's The Boss' Award: That would be Kevin Boss, of course. No one is saying he's going to be another Jason Witten, Kellen Winslow, Todd Heap, Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Heath Miller, Chris Cooley, Alge Crumpler, Vernon Davis or L.J. Smith, (did I forget anybody?), oh yeah, Jeremy Shockey. But listen, you don't have to go to State U. to be a very nice NFL tight end. And that's what this kid is going to be.

Play of the Year: Washington, Week 3; fourth quarter and fourth down. You know the rest. From the Toilet Bowl to the Super Bowl. You can't make this stuff up.

Best Game: Easy. The NFC Championship Game in Green Bay; one of the greatest games ever played in league history. If it was telecast in black and white on CBS with Ray Scott doing the play-by-play they'd be building statues of Lawrence Tynes right now in the parking lot of the new stadium. Runner-up: The loss to the Vikings. Calm down, Vinny from Bensonhurst; I was just kidding.

Best Trade: Kevin Gilbride and Spagnuolo for John Hufnagel and Tim Lewis. This was Jim Fregosi for Nolan Ryan all over again.

Best Personality Transformation: Whether he needed to be told or not, TC was headed for destruction had he not decided to make changes in the way he dealt with people. Just ask Strahan about it. He'll tell you. For goodness sake, Coughlin is a husband, a father, a doting grandfather and a humanitarian dedicated to charity work and good causes. We've all known he had this in him. Life is much easier when you smile once in a while, isn't it Tom?

Best Hands: Try sticking your hands in a bucket of ice water for four hours and play the kind of game Plaxico Burress played in Green Bay. The dude played with so much courage – with his bad foot and all – I'm willing to ignore whatever that is growing out of his chin these days.

The Summer Vacation Award: Hey, Michael Strahan, can Plax and Shock hang with you in July and August at wherever it is you will be that isn't in Albany? At least, Jerry Reese and Coughlin will know where to find you all.

The ‘What Do You Do For An Encore?' Award: If you figured it would take Reese, the rookie GM, a few years to install his program, you figured wrong. What's next? Cure the economy?

The Thurston Howell III Award: There is no player in the NFL with a better name than Madison Hedgecock. He will win this award every year until someone named John Altavilla makes it to the NFL.


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