When it comes to supporting the New York Giants, it is fair to say that there has been little to cheer about over the past few years. Apart from a 2016 campaign which saw them reach the play-offs, the last eight seasons can only be considered a bust.
While eight seasons may be a somewhat arbitrary timescale to reflect upon, that is the period since the franchise last won a Super Bowl. With each sub-par performance that passes, the glory days of 2011 are becoming more of a distant memory.
Of those eight annual attempts at reclaiming glory, just one has resulted in a return to the play-offs, and when you remove the relative success of the 2016 season, the picture surrounding the Giants looks rather bleak.
That effort was also the only winning season that the franchise has managed since lifting the Vince Lombardi trophy nine years ago, and after a miserable 4-12 record in 2019, there was a genuine clamor for change. Change that has come in the way of a new head coach. With Pat Shurmur overseeing just a 33.3% win record last year – a return that was even worse than his first year in charge (5-11), a parting of ways was soon to follow.
However, as one door closes, another one opens, and with Shurmur finding his feet at the Denver Broncos, the Giants now look to a man who has played a vital part in success elsewhere – success that has seen the New England Patriots win three Super Bowl championships since 2012.
The man in question is Joe Judge, and with the 38-year-old embarking on his first full coaching role, this will be a real test of how transferable his skills are from being a deputy and whether he can recapture the Giants’ glory days of earlier in the decade.
The announcement of a new head coach has also piqued the interest of America’s gambling fraternity, and with a flurry of sports betting in New York, there is a sense of ever-growing confidence in their hometown heroes.
Joe Judge will oversee a team that finished third in last year’s NFC East. With that said, there is certainly cause for optimism. After such a dogged stretch, the belief is that a new-look roster can turn the tide back in a more favorable direction – especially after a Draft that was universally recognized as successful.
The most exciting of the new additions will undoubtedly be Andrew Thomas. With the 21-year-old offensive tackle arriving in New York, off the back of an all-American selection last year, much will be expected of the former University of Georgia student.
Then again, it’s not just college graduates that will be tasked with undertaking a resurgence at the MetLife Stadium. There is also the influx of free agent signings that have been made in the off-season, and top of the list, in terms of future earnings, is James Bradberry.
The former Carolina Panther has signed a 3-year deal worth no less than $43.5m. After spending four solid, if not spectacular, years with his now-former employers, he will be expected to push his career onto the next step and help the Giants return to the playoffs in 2020.
While although an influx of new faces will always get supporters of any franchise excited, that mood can still be tempered by the release of the annual fixture schedule. Unfortunately for the Giants, they have been dealt a rather tough hand.
With the visit of the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3, that will prove to be an early test, and although the formbook is always reset at the start of each competitive year, the defending NFC champions will be heavy favorites to come out on top in this one.
Then again, Joe Judge and his newly assembled roster don’t have the luxury of looking as far ahead as Week 3, and with the Pittsburgh Steelers providing the first set of opposition in 2020, their season may almost be over before it has begun.
Should they manage to overcome these early competitive hurdles, then admittedly, the schedule does start to ease off slightly. If wins over the likes of the Cincinnati Bengals and Arizona Cardinals can be picked up, they may still be in the hunt for a play-off berth in the latter stages of the season – especially given that there’s an extra spot to fight for this season in both conferences.
Of course, The NFL still must rubberstamp the 2020 schedule, and the above is subject to change. However, regardless of whether the program is unabated or not, the Giants are due a long-awaited comeback, and this year might just see the good times finally return for the G Men.