Yesterday brought out reports that Jason Pierre-Paul received major injuries to his hand, due to a firework accident. Not much else was initially reported, so New York Giants fans started to fear the worst, which is to be expected when one hears of a firework going off in someone’s hand.
More reports have come out since then, stating that the injuries to Pierre-Paul’s hand are not “career-threatening”, and Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that the Giants are “pretty pleased with the initial prognosis.” Many visits to the doctor seem to be in store for Pierre-Paul, and soon news should break out as to whether any time will be missed.
Giants fans have been blessed to witness their team hold up the Super Bowl trophy in 1986, 1990, 2007, and 2011.
There have been instances though where things have not always gone the right way for the Giants and their fans. Here are a few times, both on-the field and off-the-field, where Giants fans felt stunned. Depending on the severity of Pierre-Paul’s injury, his fireworks incident may need to be included on this list in the future.
Miracle At The Meadowlands
In a 1978 matchup between the Giants and Philadelphia Eagles, the Giants looked as if they were on their way to a victory against their division rival. The Eagles had no timeouts left, and all the Giants had to do was take a knee to run out of the clock.
What happened instead can still be described as unexplainable 37 years later. Instead of taking a knee to run out the clock, Giants quarterback Joe Pisarcik turned around to hand the ball off to Larry Csonka.
The handoff was botched, and the ball came loose. The fumble was recovered by Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards, who later became head coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs, and returned 26 yards for a touchdown.
Final score: Eagles 19, Giants 17. The Giants dropped to 5-7, essentially shattering their postseason hopes for the season, and they only won one of their four remaining games finishing 6-10.
Phil Simms Released
The Giants had just finished an 11-5 season in 1993, in which they made the playoffs, and the Giants were hoping to build on that the following season. Phil Simms, who was 38 at the time, had just went through one of his best statistical seasons, completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 3,038 yards and 15 touchdowns, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Then June 16, 1994 happened. Simms was called into then head coach Dan Reeves’ office. Simms was later quoted as saying that he thought he was going to be asked to sign footballs for charity.
Instead, Reeves broke the news to Simms that he was being released.
The Giants were going in another direction, and wanted to give Dave Brown, 1st round pick in the 1992 NFL Supplemental Draft, a chance to be their starter.
This was a decision that was expected by nobody. From 1994 to 1999, the Giants saw subpar quarterback play from the likes of Dave Brown, Danny Kanell, and Kent Graham. Despite having one of the better defenses in the NFL for much of that time, the Giants only made the postseason once in that timeframe, losing to the Vikings in 1997.
Ask any casual NFL fan who Trey Junkin is, and odds are they would have no idea of who he is despite Junkin playing in the NFL for nearly 20 years.
Ask a Giants fan who Trey Junkin is, and there is a much better chance they will be aware of who he is, despite only having one career appearance with the team, in a 2002 playoff matchup against the San Francisco 49ers.
Junkin spent much of his career as a long snapper. Junkin actually retired from the NFL that season, but Jim Fassell, head coach of the Giants at the time, was concerned with their long-snapping abilities. So the Giants gave Junkin a call, someone who had been long-snapping professionally for nearly two decades.
Junkin is far from the only one to blame for this game, as the Giants inexplicably blew a 38-14 lead they held earlier. As is often the case, a scapegoat comes out of losing a game in which a large lead was had and lost, and Junkin became that scapegoat.
Despite blowing the lead, the Giants still had a chance to win the game. The Giants were down 39-38, and brought out the field goal team with six seconds remaining to try to win the game with a 40-yard attempt.
The kick never happened.
Junkin’s snap was wide left and low to the Giants holder, Matt Allen. Allen eventually grabbed the ball and got up. He threw the ball downfield, hoping for a miracle. The pass was thrown to offensive lineman Rich Seubert, and fell incomplete.
The Giants were flagged for an ineligible receiver downfield, and the game was over. Seubert, who was an eligible receiver on the play, was clearly tackled prior to the ball coming to him, but no penalty was called for that.
The NFL apologized the next day, saying that defensive pass interference should also have been called. That would have led to offsetting penalties, and the kick could have been retried. The apology meant nothing to the Giants or Junkin though.
Something Junkin had done for nearly 20 years in the NFL went awry, and it turned out to be the last NFL game of Trey Junkin’s career.
Plaxico in the Club
The Giants were coming off an emotional high after defeating the then-undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. The following season in 2008, the Giants got off to a 10-1 start, and it looked like their chances of repeating as Super Bowl champions was realistic.
Then November 28, 2008 happened.
Plaxico Burress was at the nightclub LQ in New York City, where he was carrying a gun with him. The gun began sliding down the pocket in his pants, so he reached for the gun. When reaching for the gun, he accidentally pressed the trigger, and shot himself in the right thigh.
Luckily, the self-inflicted gun wound was not life-threatening, but Burress would turn himself into authorities for charges of criminal possession of a handgun. Burress did not have a license in New York to carry a weapon and would later spend over 20 months in prison.
Burress was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list after the shooting, which meant he would not return during the season.
The Giants won their next game to go to 11-1, but lost three of their final four, finishing with a 12-4 record. Despite their struggles at the end, they remained the #1 seed for the NFC playoffs. After a bye in round 1, they played the Eagles where they lost 23-11.
One of the biggest what if’s in Giants franchise history will always be: What if Plaxico Burress did not shoot himself in the leg during the 2008 season?
Matt Dodge and the Miracle at the New Meadowlands
On December 19, 2010, the Giants were matched up in a pivotal division game against the Eagles. The Giants went into the game at 9-3, holding a one-game lead over the Eagles who were 8-4.
The Eagles were down 21 points to the Giants with under eight minutes remaining in the game. Somehow, the Eagles ended up winning after they scored four touchdowns in the final 7:28.
Two touchdown passes and a touchdown run from Michael Vick in the 4th quarter tied the game at 31.
The Giants would be forced to punt with 14 seconds left, with dangerous punt returner DeSean Jackson awaiting the punt. The smart thing for the Giants to do would be to angle the punt out of bounds, only giving the Eagles time for one play, and then likely going to overtime.
Instead, Giants punter Matt Dodge took the snap and shanked a low-line drive near the middle of the field that landed right in Jackson’s arms. While Jackson did bobble the ball and let it fall to the ground, he quickly recovered. After making a couple Giants players miss, Jackson ran the punt back 65 yards for a touchdown as time expired.
The Giants dropped to 9-4, and would win one of their final three games, finishing at 10-6. The Giants lost a tiebreaker with the Green Bay Packers who also finished 10-6. The Giants were forced to sit out the postseason, while the Packers went on to win the Super Bowl.
All of these moments brought great shock to Giants fans, as did the news of Jason Pierre-Paul that broke yesterday. Giants fans can only hope now that this moment does not change Giants history in a negative fashion like the five moments listed here have, and that Pierre-Paul will be ready to perform for the Giants this season as a terror on the defensive line.