Saturday was a very difficult day for Giants fans. A matinee featuring the Jets followed by a nightcap with their two most hated rivals squaring off in Jerry Jones's pleasuredome was as good an excuse to catch up on Oscar movies as you'll ever find. The fact that the Jets won and the Cowboys solidified their standing as the NFC's hottest team of the moment only made a bad situation worse.
It may be small comfort after the way the season imploded, but there is a silver lining as far as the Jets are concerned. If the Jets weren't still playing football, there wouldn't be all that much to talk about around the sports world in the city and that would, almost certainly, mean that the Giants would be under a much harsher spotlight than they are right now.
That goes beyond the search for a new defensive coordinator, although the lack of attention does a lot to ensure that the team covers all their bases before hiring Bill Sheridan's replacement. It also allows Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning and Jerry Reese, to name three potential lightning rods, to get the season behind them lickety split and turn their focus entirely toward 2010. We're not arguing that they should have been put through the wringer, but we've been around long enough to know how things work when you lose two games to end the season the way the Giants did this year.
Every week the Jets win means another week that the Giants get to spend working on their team without having to deal with knee-jerk reactions in the press and, not insignificantly, another week closer to the start of Spring Training. That's the natural progression of things, but this year's dueling storylines of a Yankee title defense and a Mets comeback mean that there won't be many column inches spent debating, say, whether or not Coughlin should have been held more accountable for eight losses in the last 11 games.
Make no mistake, that's what would have happened if the Jets had fallen short of the postseason. Whatever fuss the media likes to make about Rex Ryan's bravado, the Jets' 8-8 season would have looked better to many eyes than the one the Giants posted. Unfair? Perhaps, but heavy is the head that likes to wear the unofficial crown of New York's prestige football outfit.
We're almost at a point now where the Giants would be too stale a storyline even if the Jets' run ends in San Diego. A few days of postmortem, Kobe Bryant comes to town on the 22nd, the Super Bowl and all of a sudden it is a matter of days until pitchers and catchers. It might pain Giants fans to hear it, but the Jets have done a solid for their favorite team this month.