Paul Schwartz: When you come off a season and a playoff run and a magical Super Bowl it's always fascinating, upon reflection, to look back and pick out new and different memories. Starting with the Cowboys game, each victory provided epic moments for the Giants, new heroes and unsurpassed drama. The growth of Eli Manning was truly astounding and seeing him direct that final drive and then hoist the Lombardi Trophy was almost surreal. This, of course, is what the Giants hoped for and envisioned for their franchise quarterback. Looking back, what strikes me more than anything else is the creation of a legend when it comes to David Tyree. What had been a workmanlike career spent running down the field on kickoffs and punts has been transformed into instant celebrity status. It couldn't have happened to a nicer or more deserving guy. Kenny, I know you've always appreciated the way Tyree gave his body on special teams and I don't think either of us was first in line to start the "Get Tyree the ball" petition. Tyree's existence with the Giants is based on special teams, not his ability as a receiver, although he has come through when called upon and staunchly believes he can get the job done. For this guy to catch a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl was incredible, but for that scoring catch to merely be the appetizer for his still-unbelievable catch off his helmet to set up the game-winning touchdown thrust him into Giants lore. Seeing Tyree sign a lucrative autograph deal and become a center of attention is so improbable and actually heartening. He and Manning combined for a play that will live forever and whenever the name "David Tyree" is heard, Giants fans will smile.
Ken Palmer: There's no way in the world to dispute that Tyree's ascension from special teamer to Super Bowl hero is not the absolute best story of this miraculous run. The fact that he was the first Giant to ink a book deal only makes it sweeter. I've been fortunate to have spent some quality time with Tyree since his entire life changed and I'm glad – although not the least bit surprised – to report back that he hasn't changed in the least. You wouldn't even know that he was the key reason Big Blue won it all if you weren't the one asking him about it. He's an exceptional human being, which is why everyone with a pulse is ecstatic for him. But the sappy happy endings certainly don't end there. The tandem of Eli Manning and Tom Coughlin were hardly even welcomed in Giantsland at this time last season. Yet they remained unbowed, never said boo, and are now champions of the world. However, the two guys I'm happiest for are Amani Toomer and Michael Strahan. No two players have worked harder and are more deserving in recent Giants history than these two. Despite Patrick Ewing posting a Hall-of-Fame career in New York with the Knicks, he never won it all. Same goes for so many other exceptional athletes across the wide world of sports. Fortunately, these two living Giants legends will never be subjected to that awful list. And the best part of it all is that both players were key contributors down the stretch. This wasn't two old-timers hanging on for a chance at a ring. This was two extremely deserving players finally getting their just reward for close to three decades of combined service – and blood, sweat and tears – to the Big Blue cause.
PS: No doubt it's a bit disquieting for Giants fans in the afterglow of the Super Bowl, still reveling, to see Gibril Wilson, Kawika Mitchell and Reggie Torbor all sign elsewhere. While none of these defections came as a great surprise there's no doubt the losses weaken the defense. The addition of veteran safety Sammy Knight made sense and probably will work out fine for a year but it certainly isn't an inspiring move, especially if rumors of Knight's diminished speed prove to be accurate. David Carr as a backup quarterback? I have no problem with it but it's an insurance policy the Giants hope they never have to use. At this point in the offseason the Giants aren't an improved team but they can find solace that the NFC East hasn't exactly gone bonkers. The clear front-runner as far as helping themselves is the Eagles, who made the huge splash by signing CB Asante Samuel and made a more subtle move that should greatly help, signing DE Chris Clemons (eight sacks) from the Raiders. The Redskins rolled the dice by hiring unproven Jim Zorn as head coach and the Cowboys, other than re-signing T Flozell Adams and franchising S Ken Hamlin haven't done much, as I don't think LB Zach Thomas has much left in the tank. With plenty of time left for maneuvering, the Eagles are the big winners thus far.
KP: Lucky you, always getting to go first in these debates. The Eagles, who were plenty dangerous last year in their own right, have certainly been the winners in the free agent bonanza. And you can bet the Birds, as they always do, are going to make some hay in the draft as well. The Redskins and Cowboys didn't do anything to make anyone sit up and take notice. Most will say neither did the Giants. But a year from now when we're talking about how well Sammy Knight and Danny Clark played defensively, not to mention how well David Carr filled in that month when Eli Manning was hurt, we're likely going to be singing a much different tune. And while we're speaking of potential injuries, let's not overlook the importance of re-signing Derrick Ward. He's proven that he can be a solid NFL back and could certainly be called upon in a big way this upcoming season. But do you really want to know the main reason the Giants had a successful offseason? They finally allowed William Joseph to walk, and he was shockingly picked up by Oakland. Oh those silly Raiders.
PS: You're right, Kenny, one of the delights about our little give-and-take is that I do always get to go first. Not only does that make it easier for me but it also allows the readers the option of disregarding what follows after my words of wisdom. Since I get first crack, I'll throw it out there that the Giants with their first pick in the NFL Draft will take linebacker Dan Connor out of Penn State. Now, predicting the 31st overall player is not easy. What is easy? Knowing that Kenny wanted to pick Connor for the Giants, given that he believes every former Nittany Lion walks on water. Last year, most of us (me included) goofed when assuming GM Jerry Reese was targeting a linebacker in the first round. This time around, Reese may throw another curveball, but with the losses of Mitchell and Torbor there is a need to fortify the linebacker position, even if Reese is correct that Gerris Wilkinson is ready to be a starter. Connor is a play-maker from a linebacker factory. Sorry, Kenny, find the next-best Penn State player for your choice.
KP: Now you're really taking advantage of a good thing. As if going first weren't bad enough, now you're stealing Penn State's all-time leading tackler from me as well. Connor is a solid pick for sure. If nothing else, Jerry Reese proved last season that drafting ready-to-go players from mostly big schools is a solid recipe for success. However, this April Reese is going to prove that he's human – and not some mechanical perfect drafting machine – by opting not to select Connor. With the top pick in the draft, Reese will tab Arizona CB Antoine Cason. Instead of the all-time leading tackler from Linebacker U, Reese is going to select last year's Thorpe Award winner, which symbolizes the nation's top defensive back. It's tough to argue with that logic. And then Reese can make amends in the later rounds by selecting CB Justin King in the second round, RB Rodney Kinlaw in the third round, WR Terrell Golden in the fourth round and QB Anthony Morelli in the fifth round. That should be just about enough Penn State guys to make me happy.
So, what's your favorite Super Bowl story?
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