Giants Have Set a High Bar for Super Bowl Heroics

Ranking the Giants Super Bowl trips isn't particularly easy

The only thing people can agree on when ranking Giants Super Bowl trips is which one comes in last.

Super Bowl 35 against the Ravens was a humiliating evening from the start. There wasn't one minute that the Giants were even in the running to win.

After that, though, running down the rest of the list is going to come down to a matter of personal preference.

Super Bowl 21 was the first time the Giants ever made it to the big game, putting the final nail in the coffin that the Giants buried themselves in 25 years earlier. For fans who stuck with the team through all of the embarrassing seasons of the 1960s and '70s, getting to the big game and blowing out the Broncos was one of those "Now I can die in peace moments" that we saw from the Rangers in 1994 and that Knicks and Jets fans hope to see before they actually die.

When Super Bowl 25 came around, the Giants found themselves underdogs to the overwhelming offensive onslaught of the Buffalo Bills. The game was played against the backdrop of the Gulf War, Whitney Houston sang a memorable national anthem and the Giants went out and executed one of the great game plans of all time to upset the Bills.

Of course, that upset wouldn't have been possible without Scott Norwood missing a field goal on the last play of the game to ensure the Giants walked away as 20-19 winners. Does that make it less impressive than the 39-20 thumping the Giants laid on John Elway and the Broncos?

And can the drama of that upset hold up to what the Giants did to the Patriots in Super Bowl 42? The Bills were favorites, but they weren't going for an undefeated season with one of the best teams that the NFL has ever seen.

Once again, the Giants came up with the perfect plan to stop a seemingly superior opponent and got another dose of good luck when Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel dropped what should have been a game-ending interception just before the winning score. The Giants made some luck of their own, though, with David Tyree's helmet catch thrilling everyone who saw it except for Joe Buck, the man calling the game on television.

Ranking which of those games was the more impressive or memorable victory is like picking which child you like best. What's clear is that they both rank above the first win because, special as it was, it didn't come with the shock value the Giants provided in their other two victories.  

So where would a win this time around rank on the list? It's a bit hard to say without seeing how the game plays out, but the gut feeling is that it would be awfully difficult to rank it above 42 or 25.

Even if the game is an all-time classic, there's none of the surprise factor going in that you had in those two games. The Giants might like to call themselves underdogs, but there's no evidence outside their own minds to back up the assertion and that puts it into the same class as the first trip to the big game.

That's the only other trip when the Giants were expected to stand a chance in the game. That changes the reaction to a victory in the long view because you need the extra pizzazz of the upset to make a game really stand out in the crowd.

Unless we see something truly unexpected -- Eli Manning throwing for 420 yards, some kind of overtime thriller or Brandon Jacobs sprouting a pair of wings and flying out of the stadium -- it is hard to imagine that Super Bowl 46 will go down as the best Super Bowl visit in team history.

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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