(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
This has been one of the strangest years for the Giants. They came into Sunday’s game with the Jets with a disappointing 5-6 record with two of those losses occurring when they blew 10-point leads in the fourth quarter. In spite of their foibles, the Giants have been leading the unbelievably weak NFC East conference for most of the season.
The Jets historically have been the perfect tonic for the Giants when they have been struggling. In addition, the G-men always seem to play their best football when they believe that the job of their head coach, Tom Coughlin, is in jeopardy. The conventional wisdom in late 2011 was that Coughlin would be relieved of his duties at that season’s end. The Giants defeated the Jets on the afternoon of Christmas Eve that year and then went on to win the Super Bowl. That Lombardi Trophy has bought a lot of time and goodwill for him but Coughlin was once again feeling the heat coming into this December.
The Jets had not beaten the Giants in a regular season game since 1993 having dropped five straight games to them. In the first half of Sunday’s game it appeared as if the Jets would yet again play Wile E. Coyote to the Giants’ Road Runner.
I have never seen an NFL team that has been as atrocious at covering punts as the 2015 Jets are and in the second quarter the Giants’ Dwayne Harris ran one back 80 yards for a touchdown. Later in that quarter Big Blue wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. caught a pass over the middle from Eli Manning for a 72-yard touchdown. Both of those plays had to evoke painful memories for Jets fans of Victor Cruz catching a 99-yard touchdown four years earlier. It can be argued that the Rex Ryan era for the Jets went downhill and never recovered after that moment.
Lightning struck the Giants yet again however as they blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the third time this season. A game-tying field goalattempt in overtime by the usually dependable Josh Brown sailed to the right and the Jets came away with a 23-20 win.
Credit has to be given to Gang Green who did not let the demons of the past traumatize them in spite of a poor first half. Ryan Fitzpatrick outplayed Eli Manning while wide receiver Brandon Marshall was every bit as good as Beckham, Jr. if not better. Jets running back Bilal Powell picked an ideal time to have the best game of his career.
Tom Coughlin’s bad Sunday afternoon got even worse later that day when the Philadelphia Eagles, in one of the biggest NFL upsets in years, defeated Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New England Patriots. The Eagles and Giants now have the same 5-7 record in the NFC East.
The Barclays Center hosted a pretty strong boxing card this past Saturday. In the main event, Danny Jacobs had surprisingly little trouble retaining his middleweight championship belt as he knocked out fellow Brooklynite Peter Quillin in one round. Earlier, Long Islander Chris Algiei, whose career has waned a bit after he was soundly beaten by Manny Pacquiao just over a year ago, began his comeback with a unanimous decision over Erick Bone. Also fighting on the undercard was Ozone Park native and Archbishop Molloy alum Will “Power” Rosinsky, who lost a decision to Joe Smith, Jr.
Cynopsis Media is starting to give the Sports Business Journal some competition when it comes to sports business conferences. This past Wednesday it held its second annual Cynopsis Sports Engagement Summit. The main focus was on how social media is changing the marketing of professional athletics.
The biggest news of the Engagement Summit was that Turner Sports would be launching a, professional competitive video gaming association known as the E-Sports League. Turner is hoping that “electronic” athletes will do for them what snow and skateboarders did for ESPN in the 1990s with the launch of the X Games franchise.
ESPN’s NFL expert, Adam Schefter, was named 2015 Media Personality of the Year. Cynopsis may have some regrets over naming former women’s UFC champion Ronda Rousey as its Athlete of the Year in light of the brutal beating that she took at the hands of Holly Holm two weeks ago. Needless to say, Rousey did not fly to New York to accept her award at the New York Athletic Club.
Former Giants running back Tiki Barber who has done very well for himself with his company, Thuzio, which books athletes for various corporate endorsements, speaking engagements, and non-profits, was the Summit’s keynote speaker. Tiki admitted that he regretted being a pitchman for the drug manufacturer Novartis a decade ago which at the time was touting a drug in the battle against sickle cell anemia. It was nothing against what Novartis was doing; it was simply that he had no connection to the disease and thus it felt inauthentic to him and others.
I have to admit that I would rather watch the Rockettes perform there but last week Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo announced that they would revive their “Mike & The mad Dog” partnership for one night, March 30, at Radio City Music Hall. They will be raising money for a very worthy cause, Madison Square Garden’s charitable foundation that benefits children, Garden of Dreams.
Everyone knows that the holiday season is huge for retailers but surprisingly it is also a big sales time for air freshener products. Last year Glade opened up a pop-up store in Chelsea to promote its latest scents. Last week Febreeze held a press event with actors Matthew Morrison and Jane Lynch for the launch of a humorous ad campaign called “The 12 Stinks of Christmas.”