I should probably begin my Sportsman of the Year nomination with an apology to the New York Giants. You see, they weren't really my first pick for a nominee. Not because I didn't think they were deserving, but because I figured they were off-limits. As you might have noticed by now, SI writers are asked to pick a different Sportsman nominee, and I simply assumed that the team responsible for one of the biggest upsets in one of the greatest Super Bowls ever would have long since been taken.
Yet here we are, one week before SI's Sportsman of the Year is to be revealed, and the Giants, the 2008 Super Bowl champions and the best team in football this season, are sitting there in the unwanted bin. It's like getting to the end of your fantasy football draft and finding
"We love it, we love it," Giants linebacker
Sorry, Antonio, I can't do it and neither can the rest of America. It's hard to label anything that comes out of New York as overlooked and underrated, but somehow that's exactly what the Giants have been. In a city that covets big-name stars and soap-opera controversies, the no-name Giants quietly did the improbable last season. They were in danger of not making the playoffs at 9-5 in December before finishing the season at 10-6, which meant they would have to beat three division winners on the road just to make it to the Super Bowl. That earned a date with "the greatest football team ever." The Giants defied the odds in Tampa Bay, Dallas and Green Bay and then pulled off arguably the greatest upset in NFL history by derailing the Patriots' bid for a 19-0 season, winning Super Bowl XLII 17-14.
The Giants, nearly one year later, are still showing they are the best team in the NFL. If they had the star power of the Yankees, the soap-opera storylines of the Knicks or were led by last year's Sportsman of the Year,