It's becoming clear that the lasting legacy of Sunday's Giants loss won't be Tom Coughlin's coaching decisions or Eli Manning's inability to master a winter wind. The biggest storyline flowing out of the game isn't even focused on someone who was at Giants Stadium. The referendum on Plaxico Burress' return is underway and he's got one important constituency in his favor.
Jim Baumbach of Newsday spoke to several Giants players after the loss, and they seemed more than willing to welcome Burress back to the roster.
"I think he will be back here, and I think he should be back here," Brandon Jacobs said, "because he's not a criminal."
His criminality isn't for Jacobs to decide, and neither is his future, but it certainly helps Plaxico's cause to have his teammates in his corner. No one on the team shed a tear when Tiki Barber and Jeremy Shockey moved on down the road, so it's not like there's just lip service being paid here.
Another Giant, David Tyree, spoke of mercy and justice and said that Burress was deserving of the former because he "really realized the cloak of invincibility has now passed."
If Plax is invited back, that's the million dollar question. Has staring oblivion in the face made him reconsider his behavior? Fines and suspensions did nothing to get him on the straight and narrow, and if he makes the Giants look foolish he'll have dragged the organization down into the muck with him.
The only thing that's for sure at this point is that we wouldn't be having this discussion about a player with less talent. Teams like to talk about character and values, but they like to win a lot more and that's the biggest lesson learned here.