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Daniel Jones proves himself to be QB Giants dreamed of

MINNEAPOLIS — He isn’t Danny Dimes anymore. 

He is Danny Dollars. 

He is Money. 

This wasn’t Phil Simms torching the John Elway Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. It wasn’t Eli Manning shocking Tom Brady and the Perfect Patriots at the end of Super Bowl XLII. 

But after winning the Giants’ first playoff games in 11 years, 31-24 over the Vikings, after winning his first playoff game, it sure felt Super for The Man Who Would Be King and the Brian Daboll Giants after three years when no one believed Jones would ever ascend to the throne. 

The throne he was anointed to sit in when the succession plan for Manning had finally begun in earnest. 

“He walked in and people were chanting, ‘DJ’ when he walked in,” Leonard Williams said. “He’s like a hero in here right now. You could just see the confidence spewing out of him right now. I think we wouldn’t want anyone else to lead us right now.” 

All season long, they had seen Daniel Jones be their fearless leader, they had seen him fire throws into tight windows, they had seen him use his legs as a lethal weapon, they had seen him be at his best five times when his best was required in the fourth quarter. 

He never blinked, never flinched when the hounds of hell were barking at him during those years when the Giants did everything possible to screw him up and he never blinked, never flinched on Sunday in the face of the biggest game of his football life. 

Daniel Jones runs with the ball during the Giants' win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Daniel Jones runs with the ball during the Giants’ win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Now — after throwing for 301 yards and two touchdowns and rushing 17 times for 78 yards — he goes to the Linc on Saturday to try to keep the top-seeded Eagles from a three-game sweep of his Giants in a game that will be bigger than the biggest game of his life. Of so many of their football lives. 

The game that would position the Giants 60 minutes from Super Bowl 2023 should they pull off the upset. 

John Mara was stopped in the middle of this joyous Giants locker room and marveled at the way his franchise quarterback performed. 

“To me, it was the poise,” Mara said. “That building is as loud as can be, and you look at him, and he’s in complete control of the offense. It gave me a lot of confidence that I don’t care how many times they score, we’re gonna score more.” 

I asked Mara when it became a finality to him that Daniel Jones would be his Quarterback of the Future. 

“It was a while ago I think … he just keeps getting better and better every week,” Mara said. 

Mara laughed when it was suggested that he got the succession plan for Eli right (yes, with former GM Dave Gettleman’s help) and said: “Hey I can’t screw up everything, I gotta get something right.” 

Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones has proved himself to be the Giants’ QB of the future.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Kid brother Chris Mara: “We got somebody going forward.” 

Asked what he thought of his quarterback, Steve Tisch smiled and said: “The world.” 

A fighter. A battlefield commander. 

“I know we have an elite quarterback,” Saquon Barkley said, “but we also got amazing players around him, too, so we got his back no matter what.” 

You couldn’t spell elite without an E an L and an I, remember? 

There is an E an L and an I in Daniel, too. 

“Just tried to stay as kinda present and locked in to what I gotta do as possible,” Jones said. 

It was Vikings 24, Giants 24 when Jones had it back at his 25 with 12:34 left. 

Crowd roaring. 

And Daniel Jones went to work. 

Marched his team to the Vikings 7, and Daboll wasn’t settling for any field goal. 

Not with the way his defense was playing. 

Not with the way Daniel Jones was playing. 

“He played a great game,” Darius Slayton said, “but that’s what great players do.” 

Jones got 2 yards on a keeper, and when Barkley, who had scored on a 28-yard TD run in the first quarter, willed his way in from the 2, it was Giants 31, Vikings 24. with 7:47 remaining. 

“I think we had a lot of fun,” Jones said. “We love the opportunity to compete and play in big games.” 

Daniel Jones is greeted by Brian Daboll after the Giants' win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Daniel Jones is greeted by Brian Daboll after the Giants’ win over the Vikings on Jan. 15.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Soon Jones had it fourth-and-1 at his 45. 

Daboll called time. 

3:28 left. 

He was going for it. 

He wasn’t punting the way his defense was playing. 

Or the way Jones was playing. 

“You want to be in those situations, you want to have the opportunity to convert,” Jones said. 

Jones got it for Daboll with another quarterback keeper for 2 yards. Slayton dropped what could have been a third-and-15 dagger but Wink Martindale played the part of the young Bill Belichick in crunch time. 

Giants danced in the locker room. “No matter who was to the left or right of me, whether it was an equipment guy, a trainer, someone who’s on the practice squad, someone who’s a starter, no matter who it is, everyone’s just looking at each other saying, ‘I love you, like congrats,’ ” Williams said, savoring his first playoff victory in his eighth season, “and I feel like that type of camaraderie and togetherness is what us this far in the first place and I feel like that’s what got us the win today as well.” 

Now the Eagles. 

“I’m looking forward to the Eagles game,” Chris Mara told The Post, “like you can’t f—–g believe.” 

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