Giants Must Particularly Sting After Seeing Seahawks Clinch Playoff Berth
Let me explain. Only one team finished in top 10 in offense, rushing, passing, defense, run defense and pass defense: Big Blue, who missed playoffs despite a 10-6 mark. The Giants are also one of just five teams in NFL history to finish three games ahead of a rival that made the playoffs and not qualify for postseason themselves.
The first such team was the 1967 Baltimore Colts, who went 11-1-2 but lost the Coastal Division (a wacky grouping of Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles and San Francisco) to the Rams because they had a loss and a tie in their two meetings. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys, whom the Colts beat 23-17 in Baltimore made the playoffs by winning the Capitol Division with a 9-5 record. The Cleveland Browns also qualified by winning the Century Division at 9-5.
The Colts would get payback in 1968 by stampeding to the Super Bowl with a 15-1 mark that included a 34-0 shutout of the Browns in the NFL Championship Game.
In 1985, the Denver Broncos finished 11-5 but lost the AFC's wild card spot to the New England Patriots because of a worse record against common opponents. Meanwhile, Cleveland won the AFC Central at 8-8. The Broncos got revenge the next two years by beating the Browns in the AFC Championship Game.
Fast forward to 2008 when the Tom Brady-less Patriots went 11-5 but lost out the AFC East title to the Miami Dolphins and the last wild card berth to the Baltimore Ravens because of an inferior conference record. Meanwhile, the San Diego Chargers won the AFC West at 8-8, a record that included a 30-10 triumph over the visiting Patriots.
Which takes us to the Giants and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who also are out of the playoffs now despite a 10-6 record while the Seattle Seahawks are celebrating becoming the first 7-9 division champion. The winners of the NFC Worst get to host a playoff game this weekend while the Giants and Bucs just go home for the winter. The Giants edge Tampa Bay on the most screwed scale because they thrashed the Seahawks 41-7 in Seattle while the Bucs whipped the Seahawks 38-15 at home. A 34-point road victory trumps a 23-point home triumph.
And unlike Tampa Bay, New York gets its chance at revenge in 2011 because the NFC East meets the NFC West. Assuming a lockout doesn't disrupt the 2011 season, the Seahawks will visit the Meadowlands. They shouldn't expect a very warm welcome from Big Blue or its faithful fans.