U.S.C., Backed by Its Big Name, Makes Case for National Title Run
March 29, 1991|By John B. Emerson Jr.
In the world of pro football, one of the greatest teams, the New York Giants, just lost a key player. With only ten men available on defense, they lost the reigning NFL MVP, Super Bowl defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The Giants are down three of the last five games and at 1-4 is in danger of losing their second-half lead to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Yet, the team that has been the world’s most dominant professional football franchise is playing for its first national title. And for the second time in the last two years, the Giants have shown a fighting spirit that has not been seen by Giants fans during the team’s previous nine years.
When a team takes into account the strength of its opponents and, in the case of the Giants, the strength of its schedule, the chances of winning the title look much better for the Giants than they did a year ago. The team that had gone 10-4-1 in the regular season when the Giants lost their last three games is now in seventh place in the NFC East with 16 wins and six losses.
The Giants, meanwhile, are only three games out of first place in the NFC East. The Giants’ only loss was in overtime to Dallas, which is now in first place. In the game, the Giants’ defense had two interceptions returned for touchdowns and three sacks.
“It was disappointing not to have played as well as we wanted,” said Williams at a press conference this week. “I knew I was getting back on track; I was ready to play again. It hurts; it’s my favorite place on the earth.”
The Giants went 4-0-1 over the last eight games. At 3-0-1, the Giants are the only team unbeaten in the 16-team NFL. They were the only team (of 16) to go undefeated in the NFC East this season. And they’ve won eight of their last nine.
The Giants are now 17-7-1, the best record in the NFL. The