Giants Hope Turnaround Time Is Short
In other professional sports, a long string of losing seasons isn't very uncommon. In both the NBA and MLB, it's not unheard of for a team to go five years or even a decade without a winning season. I mean, just consider the fact that in the NBA only three teams own 12 of the league's last 15 titles: the San Antonio Spurs have four, the Los Angeles Lakers have five and the Miami Heat have three. The only NBA teams besides the Spurs, Lakers and Heat to win a title in the last 15 seasons are the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. All of the talent in the NBA is concentrated among a small group of the teams, while the rest are left to languish in mediocrity.
The NFL is a different story, though. The league has prided itself on its parity over the course of the last few decades, and in the last 10 seasons, only two NFL teams have had the privilege of winning multiple titles: the Pittsburgh Steelers and the New York Giants. Each and every year it seems like there are new contenders that arise out of seemingly nowhere and new challengers to the throne. In the NFL, the turnaround time from struggling franchise to Super Bowl contender is surprisingly short, and the term "rebuilding year" seems to be all but disappearing from NFL vernacular.
Take a look at the Kansas City Chiefs, for instance. The Chiefs went from the worst record in the NFL a season ago (2-14) to a 9-0 start to begin the 2013 season and an eventual playoff berth at 11-5. All it took was a new quarterback in Alex Smith and a new head coach in Andy Reid, and the laughingstock of the league was transformed into a legitimate Super Bowl contender. While the Chiefs were eliminated from the playoffs by the Colts this past season in a shootout for the ages, the team is poised to make a return to the playoffs next season … that is, unless they don't.
On the flip-side of this league-wide parity are the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons, two teams that were within reach of a Super Bowl appearance in 2012, and they followed that up by winning six games combined in 2013. In fact, the Texans were so bad that they are preparing to make the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft, following a season where many people expected them to make a run at a championship. Of course, this is all to say that the NFL is an unpredictable league and what happens in one season usually cannot be used to forecast the next season, even if it seems like it's safe to do so.
The New York Giants enjoyed their worst season in almost a decade in 2013, and everything from poor offensive line play to injuries to poor play-calling and execution is to blame. However, don't forget that this team is only two years removed from their latest Super Bowl title, and although there aren't too many vital pieces of that team that remain in the lineup today, the basic blueprint for success is still there. This means that the turnaround time for the Giants may be shorter than everyone thinks. The Giants are only a few key pieces away from being the contender we all know they can be when they are operating at full capacity. For the Giants, right now is the time to win, and the word "rebuilding" should not be in their (or anybody else's, for that matter) vocabulary. Not in the NFL, where turnaround seasons can happen at the drop of a dime and where parity rules. Although he's been in the league for 10 years now, Eli Manning is still relatively young at 33 years old, especially when you consider what kind of a season his older brother just had at 37 years of age. While Eli may be coming off the worst season of his career, he is undoubtedly in his prime, and we already know that he has the capability to turn this around in the blink of an eye.
As the Giants begin to prepare for the 2014 season and early projections and predictions begin to roll in, just remember that in the NFL, the time it takes to get from pretender to contender is a lot shorter these days. And with the right adjustments, the Giants can be back on the winning track in no time.