A while back, I started a thread discussing some big "what if?" moments in Giants history during years that had potential to be Super Bowl-winning ones, or at least ones with deep playoff runs.
Examples in my post and the comment thread included Plax in 08, the Giants-Jets game in 88 and the Giants-49ers collapse in the 02 playoffs.
Some people mentioned that the pendulum has gone the other way in Giants history, so I wanted to take a look into that for the four Super Bowl-winning years down the road. Decided to write that today.
See what you think about one or any of the "what ifs" below and add/comment as you like. Pretty long, so obviously feel free to pick and choose as you wish.
Regular Season: @ Minnesota
1. What if the 4th and 17 completion at Minnesota never happens? Do you think it takes the wind out of the team's sails a bit or do they forge on and still win out as they did?
2. What if the Giants lose to the Skins at RFK and finish as the No. 4 seed? Do they still win the Super Bowl?
(Side note: Read the box score...Jay Schroeder threw SIX picks that game? Wow.)
1. What if the Giants had to travel to Chicago instead of hosting Washington?
1. What if the Broncos score a TD instead of getting stonewalled before Karlis missed the chip shot FG?
at 49ers: NFC Championship
1. What if the Gary Reasons fake punt failed?
2. What if Craig never fumbled?
(To be more detailed on No. 2, let's go with the scenario that Craig got stuffed behind the line, as he did in the game, but held onto the ball.)
vs. Bills in Tampa: Super Bowl XXV
1. What if Hostetler fumbles in the end zone and the Bills score a TD?
2. What if Ingram doesn't pull off a Houdini act on 3rd and 13?
3. What if the Bills committed to taking what the Giants gave them and running the ball with Thurman Thomas instead of throwing 30 times (30 Kelly passes, 15 Thomas runs)
at Washington, Week 3
1. What if Washington scores the late TD as opposed to getting stuffed? Do heads roll or do the Giants find a way to bounce back still after two brutal opening weeks?
vs. New England, Week 17
1. What if the Giants lay an egg vs. the undefeated Pats in Week 17, or decide to rest their starters and get crushed? Do you think they still ride the momentum of that moral victory into the playoffs or do you think they go in a bit deflated and don't end up having the storybook postseason?
at Dallas, NFC Divisional
1. What if the Giants don't go on their sub-one minute drive to end the first half with the Toomer TD?
at Green Bay, NFC Conference Title
1. What if Pierce doesn't pull off the play of the game late in the 2nd, stuffing Jackson to hold Pack to a FG (10-6 Pack vs. what would have likely been 14-6 going into half).
2. What if Favre throws the ball out of bounds instead of tossing a lollipop to Webster in OT? 2nd and 8 from GB 28 at the time.
3. What if Tynes misses the OT FG? OR what if Coughlin decides to go for it on 4th and 5 from the GB 29?
Super Bowl vs. Pats
1. What if the Helmet Catch fell incomplete?
2. What if Smith fell short on the 3rd and 11 play late in the drive? (IMHO, the most underrated play in Giants history.)
3. What if Moss catches the late Hail Mary attempt but gets tackled in FG territory?
1. What if Cruz doesn't score the 99-yard TD?
Playoffs at GB
1. What if the Giants don't pull off the Hail Mary to end the first half?
Playoffs at SF
1. What if Kyle Williams fair catches the ball on the punt in OT instead of fumbling it away?
Super Bowl vs. NE
1. What if Manning-Manningham never happens and the ball falls harmlessly incomplete?
2. What if Welker catches the fourth quarter pass?