Yet again, this image has absolutely zero to do with the following post. But, it makes me laugh. And that's enough...John Woods is a staff editor for the New York Times and regular contributor to the Times' football blog, The Fifth Down. He's also a Steelers fan. Of course, I didn't know this when trading emails with him. So I thoroughly made an ass out of myself by asking him five questions about the Giants, worded as if he were as rife with Giants homerism as I am with Steelers homerism. Nevertheless, he was nice enough to actually answer my questions without ripping me for being a completely worthless human being. Which works out well, because that position's already been filled by my ex-girlfriend anyhow. Ba-dum-ching!
Ah, but I digress.
Indeed, I posed five questions to John in advance of our game with the vaGiants on Sunday and he answered them to the best of his abilities without letting his Steelers fandom affect his responses too heavily one way or another. The results are what you see below.
So without further ado, I give you John Woods making the best out of the most irrelevant questions I could think of.
1. How are you guys enjoying Plaxico Burress?
Let me state for the record that 1) I am not a Giants fan, 2) I have been a Steelers fan since I was 6 and 3) that I have no problem with Burress's supposed toxic presence -- in New York, anyway. Burress is a talented player and he has made a lot of hay with Eli Manning. Aren't they among the most successful touchdown tandems in the league? I can see Steelers fans having a different point of view, but Burress has since developed his talent and is now probably worth the headache. To wit, he pulled a Terrell Owens last year -- and by that I mean that he put aside his own semiserious injuries and personal problems to really power the Giants to the Super Bowl -- without later pulling a Terrell Owens -- and by that I mean that Burress didn't disrupt the entire team and get run out of town when he went for a bigger contract. ...The latest scandal about him missing Monday's meetings was B.S., if you ask me. If Burress was having some serious issues with his family, his wife or his kid or something, then I think he deserves a pass. It's not like he is getting a lot done on Mondays. And. It's not like he was unapologetic. He told reporters -- check the wire stories -- that he would call the next time, which is what the Giants wanted him to do. The Giants, for their part, cut his fine in half. But everyone in New York painted him as a miscreant. Which, O.K., he probably is. ...Do the guys in the locker room think he's a jerk? I dunno. But, let's face it, most of them are probably jerks.
2. What parallels do you see between the Giants and Steelers?
Now that you mention it, there are more than a few. Similar styles of play, on either side of the ball, for one. Both teams have lost key players to injuries, though those losses have not seemed to matter much. Both teams won Super Bowls the hard way, with a four-game sweep through the postseason.
3. Do you think having Tom Coughlin (formerly of the Steelers old AFC Central rivals – the Jacksonville Jaguars) at the helm gives the Giants an edge at all?
No. Not more than the other dozen teams with good coaches. I understand that Coughlin has already been anointed a genius for winning the Super Bowl, but that was probably more in spite of him than because of him. His biggest contribution was more like addition by subtraction. I admit that I don't know a lot about the team's chemistry, but the Giants really seemed to start playing better last season when Coughlin reportedly eased up on his notoriously strict team policies.
4. How could you guys let us down and lose to the Browns?
That was shocking. But strictly a matter of the Browns being ramped up and Manning throwing three picks. I don't think it was a chink in the armor. It was just one of those things that happens in the N.F.L.
5. How do you see this game going and what's your prediction on score?
I dunno. This is tough. It's going to be a good game, I bet. (I am ticked that the late start means I will have to watch the second half at work.) ...The matchups are interesting. The big one is the Steelers against the Giants' pass rush. It looks bleak for Pittsburgh. About the only real difference between Manning and Big Ben (Eli is more prolific, Ben is more efficient) is in the number of times they've been sacked. So, the Steelers are going to have to figure out some new protections -- but they have the Browns to copy from. The Giants had no sacks in Cleveland. ...The bottom line is that I think it's clear that the game will be low scoring, and so within reach for either team when it's the fourth quarter. The Giants run a tight ship: they have only five turnovers in six games. That's huge in a game like this. I say, Giants, 20-13.
Watching the second half at work? Ladies and gentleman, pity this man.
So what would you guys say to all this?