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The Big Blue 10: Experience

Running down the 10 biggest reasons the Giants are in the Super Bowl

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    When you've been there and done that, it's a little easier to do it again.

    As we wait for the Giants and Patriots to take the field in Indianapolis, we're going to be running down the 10 biggest reasons why the Giants are headed to Super Bowl 42. Coming in at No. 4 is experience.

    Sports fans are a funny breed and there's no better illustration of that than Giants fans this season.

    If you roll back the clock to the hours right after the Giants lost 23-10 at home to the Redskins in Week 15, you would hear a lot of Giants fans tearing their team to shreds.

    They were angry at Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, Perry Fewell, Jerry Reese and just about everyone else associated with the team.

    These complaints weren't all that unreasonable. The Giants had lost five of six games, looking bad in all of them, and showed shockingly little life in that loss to a bad Redskins team when a win would have solidified their playoff chances.

    Now, of course, fans are singing a different tune. The Giants are a resilient bunch of champions who stand up strong when their backs are against the wall.

    Coughlin is a motivational genius, Reese made all the right moves and the players are all made of the strongest stock that the NFL has to offer. It's a ridiculous change of attitude, but it is one that fans are entitled to make because it's an emotional attachment that need not follow any kind of rational rules.

    It's different for the team itself. This is their job, which requires a degree of professional detachment that fans can't be expected to have.

    Thankfully, this Giants team has that coming out of their ears and that's a big reason why this team was able to right the ship in time to embark on this epic run to the Super Bowl. Part of the reason is that the team has been there before.

    Coughlin never wavered throughout the season, a sharp contrast to the other coach of a team in the Meadowlands, and several other key players on the roster have been there for the highs and lows of recent seasons.

    Manning, Justin Tuck, David Diehl and Corey Webster, to name four, have been through an unlikely Super Bowl run and they've also been through two playoff-less seasons that looked quite promising in the early going leading up to this one, arming them with the necessary frame of mind to know that teams are rarely as good or as bad as they look in any given week.

    While the fans and media declared the sky was falling almost weekly, the Giants just kept plowing forward with the confidence that things would be okay if they ever got healthy enough to put their best team on the field. When that wound up happening, the team started winning and they haven't stopped.

    They learned in 2008 that outside distractions can ruin a good team and they learned in 2009 that internal dissension can do the same thing.

    The lesson of 2010, other than don't punt to DeSean Jackson when it isn't necessary, was that you can only worry about your own results even if winning 10 games doesn't guarantee you a playoff spot.

    Put those together with the lasting lesson of 2007 -- how you get to the playoffs matters a lot less than what you do when you get there -- and you've got a base that these Giants used to stabilize them throughout the season.

    We'll go back to Coughlin one last time, because none of those lessons mean a thing if you don't have a coach who remains the same no matter what fires rage around him.

    Being there before played a major role in getting the Giants back to the Super Bowl, a lesson that the rest of us might want to learn before jumping off a cliff the next time the Giants lose a game.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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