Editor's Note: This is an opinion editorial done by Paul Tierney and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of all Giants 101 contributors. Enjoy.
As I watched New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning's body tossed to the ground for a safety in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Detroit Lions, my initial reaction was to get up and start screaming at my television. I'm sure I wasn't alone. But unlike many others, an overwhelming sense of reality stopped me from succumbing to my instinctual rage.
That's because it didn't matter.
Whether Eli had the awareness to step up in the pocket before he took the sack, or to throw the ball at the feet of the closest receiver was irrelevant. He could have scrambled for a touchdown, and the Giants would still have been doomed to a third-place finish in the NFC East this season.
For this team, Sunday's win was a demonstration of an organizational pride that fans everywhere have bought into. In football, when all else fails, players and fans alike hang their hats on pride as if having it dampens the heartache spurred on by past failures. And regardless of yesterday's game and whatever happens in the Giants' season finale, 2013 will forever be remembered as a colossal failure.
Pride doesn't change any of that. At best, it can partially blind one to the reality of a bad situation.
But in the NFL, teams are designed to fail at one time or another. Failure is what makes winning an enthralling experience for players and fans everywhere. Imagine being a Jacksonville Jaguars fan the day they win a Super Bowl? Giants fans, in particular, know what it feels like to see their team emerge from mediocrity to champions.
In this league, failure is inevitable. This year, it was the Giants' turn to fail. And while it's gut-wrenching to watch as a fan, the team might as well take advantage to the benefits the NFL offers to teams that prove inferior over 16 games.
I'm not here trying to say the Giants shouldn't have come out and tried to win Sunday's game. I'm not saying it was acceptable for anyone who considers themselves a true Giants fan to root for the Lions.
But just like I remained emotionless when Eli was sacked in his own end-zone, I didn't jump off my couch when Will Hill picked off Mathew Stafford and ran for a touchdown. As much as I didn't want to admit it, the long-term interests of the organization would have been better served by losing. If the team wins its final two games and drafts outside the top-10, it's going to kill me to see another squad pick-up a stud offensive tackle that our fan-base has clamored for.
All said and done, Giants fans should be happy the team pulled out a victory. If nothing else, it showed the players possess an admirable work-ethic and a sense of character. But when the draft rolls around, Sunday's victory could hinder the Giants' ability to win games that actually matter. It's possible yesterday's victory alters the future of the organization for years to come. So while it's fashionable for fans to say they rooted relentlessly for the Giants to win on Sunday, others will be left asking themselves: Was it worth it?
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