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Giants can deliver Christmas gift earlier than expected

MINNEAPOLIS — Five years. Five years spent wondering where it had all gone wrong. Five years agonizing over why the latest new head coach turned out to be the latest wrong head coach, why the general manager wasn’t any savior. Why this, why that. 

Five years that reminded you of the dark wilderness years when your fans were in revolt, and your father and uncle needed to be separated by NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, and George Young was summoned to rescue the franchise. 

No one deserved a season like this one more than John Mara, the biggest Giants fan of them all. 

’Tis the day before what could be an improbable and exhilarating Mara Christmas, for the devoted owner, for Giants fans everywhere. 

Back up from Rock Bottom, here come the New York Football Giants, hungering for a win over the Vikings on Saturday that could … with help … secure their first playoff berth since 2016. 

Here comes Brian Daboll, the competent, culture-changing head coach Mara couldn’t find until he blew it all up and trusted rookie general manager Joe Schoen to find one for him. 

Here comes Daniel Jones, bloodied, but unbowed, following three years of Quarterbacking 101 negligence, an ugly duckling blossoming into a beautiful swan before our eyes under Daboll’s guidance. 

Brian Daboll
Brian Daboll’s Giants are on the verge of clinching a playoff berth.
Bill Kostroun/New York Post
NY Post Illustration

Here comes Pro Bowler Saquon Barkley, running to daylight on two healthy knees again. 

Here comes Kayvon Thibodeaux, who had himself a Lawrence Taylor night against the Commanders and isn’t interested in being any one-hit wonder. Alongside will be Pro Bowler Dexter Lawrence and what will need to be a Big Blue Wrecking Crew to keep Kirk Cousins from playing catch with otherworldly Justin Jefferson, or perhaps leading another comeback for the ages. 

Here comes defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, with his infectious swagger, keeping the Giants in virtually every game with half his secondary on the sideline. 

Here comes Graham “The Toe” Gano, automatic weapon. 

From 2018-21, Mara watched his Giants play 65 games. He watched them lose 46 of those games. 

Barkley was filled with hope and optimism before his first NFL game. He and Odell Beckham Jr. were going to be a dynamic duo. Eli Manning was years away from the Manningcast. 

New York Post

“I believe that this team has a great chance to be a great team,” Barkley said at the time. 

It didn’t. It wasn’t. From 2018-21, Barkley was 19-46 as a Giant, too. 

Now? Now he is 8-5-1 this season. The playoffs aren’t fourth-and-long. The playoffs are first-and-goal. 

“I can feel it. I’m hungry for him,” Thibodeaux told The Post. “He’s brought out the beast in me, in just seeing we really do have a chance, and this is something that doesn’t come by easy.” 

From 2019-21, Jones was 14-35. 

“He doesn’t even know if he’s getting a contract next year,” Thibodeaux said, “and that’s none of my business. I don’t know whatever goes into it. But it’s just like the relentlessness to continue to play with all of these pressures being the quarterback in New York City, hats off to him ’cause he’s just been delivering week in and week out.” 

Daniel Jones, left, and Saquon Barkley jog off the field after the Giants' win over the Commanders on Dec. 18.
Daniel Jones, left, and Saquon Barkley jog off the field after the Giants’ win over the Commanders on Dec. 18.

It should be a no-brainer that the twin faces of the franchise, Jones and Barkley, deserve to keep delivering for the 2023 Giants and beyond. 

“We gotta keep good things going,” Thibodeaux said. “You don’t need to fix something that’s not broken.” 

Mara’s Giants are no longer broken. 

“If I had a voice,” Thibodeaux said, “I’d say those are our leaders, and I love being on the team with ’em, and I feel like they’re gonna lead us to greatness.” 

It’s Year 1 of the rebuilding, and here come the New York Football Giants anyway, ready, willing and Daboll to gift themselves their first Mara Christmas in what seems like an eternity. 

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