The Giants ended the Patriots perfect season in 2007 with a major upset in Super Bowl XLII. Plaxico Burress caught the game-winning touchdown.
Winning a Super Bowl is tough. Winning back-to-back Super Bowls is rare.
Giants players and coaches believe they would’ve repeated as champions in 2008 if one thing did not happen.
The Giants were 10-1 on the season when Plaxico Burress went to the Latin Quarters in Manhattan and accidentally shot himself in the leg. Burress never played for the Giants again. The team went 2-4 in the final six games but still got the No. 1 seed. They were eliminated by the No. 6 seed Eagles in the Divisional Round.
But what if Burress didn’t shoot himself? Steve Serby of the NY Post went back to look at that scenario. Would the 2008 Giants have won the Super Bowl?
“Back-to-back,” former Giants running back Brandon Jacobs said. “We were easily better than every team in the NFL that year. Easily. I’m talking about a touchdown, I’m talking about 10 points better than everybody.”
The final four teams in the 2008 playoffs were the Eagles, Cardinals, Steelers and Ravens. The Giants beat all four teams in the regular season. Three of those four wins were on the road.
“I thought if Plaxico didn’t shoot himself, we were the best team in the NFL that year,” former Giants defensive end Justin Tuck said.
The Giants had one of the best offensive lines in football, and had a lethal trio at running back with Brandon Jacobs, Derek Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. Jacobs and Ward each exceed 1,000 rushing yards for the season. Eli Manning was having one of his finest seasons up until that point.
“That was our best team,” former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said. “There’s no doubt about it. We were good in every aspect. I think we could have won. Whether you do win or don’t win, who knows? But we showed we were good enough to win another Super Bowl, I don’t think there was any question about that.”
“We were the best team in the NFL at the time of the shooting,” former Giants coach Tom Coughlin said a few years ago.
“Honestly, it’s still one that haunts me,” former Giants guard Chris Snee told ESPN in 2018. “I don’t think there was a team that could beat us. I really don’t.”
Burress served nearly two years in prison for attempted criminal possession of a weapon. The Giants released him in April of 2009.
To this day, the 2008 season remains the one that got away for the New York Giants.
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