With a Biblical pandemic rocking the world and an ugly election shaking our nation, we turn to sports to find beauty, fairness, and athletic splendor. Instead, we get what passes for football at MetLife Stadium.
We can muse over Big Blue's season and whether we see tangible progress, or anything positive we may see from Gang Green, but no matter how many moral victories the Giants or Jets may have these days, the actual victories are scarce. A 1-15 combined record reads dirty no matter how you present it, so in an Orwellian time of lockdowns, groupthink, and inverted logic, maybe it's an accidental gift to have our government ban fans from flooding the Meadowlands.
No doubt you want to race out of your house as often as possible. You've been torn from friends and family. Vacations and long weekends have been scratched off the calendar. And we must walk outside looking like aliens, masks wrapped around our faces, forced to stay six feet from fellow humans. Something normal would be nice.
Sports have always acted as an escape from the anxiety of life. Some folks go to movies or museums. Others like to hike or bike their way through verdant parks. Sports serve the same purpose - a way to bond with other people, to find a fun commonality in team colors and tailgating and face paint and foam fingers.
But not this year. Even if there were no strange virus snaking its way through our streets, the Giants are a football deterrent, a shell of deodorant with no white bar left under the lid – and the Jets are like not wearing anything at all. At low tide in the Meadowlands, when nature lifts the veil of water from the marsh, there's a brutally bad smell wafting from the weeds. No idea if the pungent air is natural or the residue of toxic dumping back in the day, but either way, our teams smell about the same.
Sure, the Giants are playing better than their MetLife co-tenants, but that's a low bar to clear. The Jets are spinning in a vortex of historically bad football. They are the first NFL team to lose their first eight games and not cover the spread in any of them. Last week I played a 7-team, 6-point tease (legally) with a sports betting app, and six of them hit. The only loser was the Jets, who lost by 26 in a game in which they were getting 25.5 points.
Giants head coach Joe Judge seems legit, a no-frills, blue-collar guy who got his degree from Belichick Tech. While Jets coach Adam Gase watches the water rise over his face, his job dangling in the hard wind off the Hackensack River, Judge feels like the right guy. And while we see a larger gap between the teams than their 1-7 and 0-8 records suggest, it's time for the Giants to win some games and get some blood pumping through the fan base.
It starts this weekend. The team with one win at Washington to play the team with no name. Considering how Washington has been run, they don't have much of a future, either. God bless Alex Smith for his Homeric journey back to the gridiron, which has made many men, including yours truly, quietly cry with pride. But to realize Washington has someone taking live snaps who came within a whisker of losing his leg, speaks to the team's dysfunction.
Out of their final eight games, the Giants play four teams with a losing record; Washington, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Dallas have a combined 9-20-2 record today. And, Big Blue plays three of them over their next three games (they end the season hosting the Cowboys). If the G-Men can win three of them and finish the season 4-12, it will signal a slight uptick.
Perhaps it would buy enough time for Daniel Jones to return to Danny Dimes, and for the QB and GM to keep their jobs. But the moral victories and marginal gains don't last long if the record doesn't reflect it, so the Giants need to slap some wins on the board. Now.
And maybe by the time you're allowed to visit MetLife Stadium, you'll actually like what you see.
Follow Jason Keidel on Twitter: @JasonKeidel