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SportsColumnistsBob Glauber

Giants fans should root for their team to win, not for a higher draft pick

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young laughs on

Ohio State defensive end Chase Young laughs on the sidelines against Northwestern on Oct. 18 in Evanston, Ill.  Credit: AP/Charles Rex Arbogast

The polls admittedly are unscientific and wouldn’t qualify as a representative sample size. But nevertheless, there was something instructive about the results, even if the impromptu questions posed on Twitter were nothing more than an effort to take the temperature of Giants fans heading into Sunday’s game against the Redskins.

The question was simple: Do you want the Giants to win or lose?

The answers were stunning. In one poll, 82 percent of respondents hoped the Giants would lose. In another, 66 percent hoped for a loss.

Why on Earth would Giants fans want their team to lose?

Easy. A loss would mean a better chance at getting a higher draft pick — or, in this case, a chance to draft Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young.

It’s one of those counterintuitive lines of thinking in which you root against the team you support in hopes of building a better future.

It’s what Dolphins fans surely were hoping for as the team was disassembled with the trades of franchise left tackle Laremy Tunsil, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, wide receiver Kenny Stills and quarterback Ryan Tannehill. The line of thinking was that the Dolphins would be so bad during the season that they’d be in position to draft the best quarterback in college football.

But “Tank for Tua” eventually became a hollow battle cry. Not only did Alabama star Tagovailoa suffer a season-ending hip injury, but the Dolphins, under first-year coach Brian Flores, started to win games after an 0-7 start and now are out of the running for the best quarterback. That honor belongs to the Bengals, who lost to the Dolphins on Sunday and clinched the No. 1 overall pick.

Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow now is only months away from becoming a Bengal.

Giants fans hoping for a shot at Young, who is considered the NFL’s next great pass rusher, thus were disappointed that the team beat the Redskins, 41-35, in overtime.

Sorry, but I’ll never agree with this line of thinking.

In the inimitable and immortal words of former Jets coach Herm Edwards: You play to win the game.

Period.

Rooting against your team for any reason is just weird. Sure, I get it that you want to be in better position to take a guy like Young. And no, the Dolphins won’t be in position to get Burrow. But if you build your team properly and make sensible draft decisions over a period of years, it never should come down to hoping your team loses just to get a higher pick.

If you’re that desperate for a player, then do what the Eagles did in 2016, when they engineered a series of trades to move up to No. 2 overall to get Carson Wentz. Or make the right call on players wherever you’re drafting, because there are good players in every draft. It’s your job to find them, not to back into a higher pick by losing as much as you can during the regular season.

Pat Shurmur certainly didn’t want to guarantee a higher draft pick by losing to the Redskins. No, he’s fighting for his job, and he’ll do anything he can do to coach the Giants in 2020, even if the team doesn’t include Chase Young.

“Coaches don’t think like that,” he said after Sunday’s win, which featured rookie Daniel Jones throwing a career-high five touchdown passes, including the game-winner. “All of the offseason stuff figures itself out in the offseason. We don’t worry about that. We were here to put a good performance on the field and do everything in our power to win a game.

“Next week [against the Eagles], we’ll do the same thing,” he said. “And then we get to the offseason, we’re going to all have a lot of time to discuss what the heck goes on.”

It’s uncertain whether Shurmur will be a part of those offseason discussions, because he’s still on shaky ground despite winning two games in a row. There is no ignoring the nine-game losing streak that preceded this late-season rush, so there’s no telling whether Shurmur will be back.

But you can’t tell me that Jones playing the way he did against the Redskins wasn’t a big deal and doesn't trump the nonsense about losing to be in better position to get the second pick. Young may or may not be the second coming of Lawrence Taylor. He might not even be in next year’s draft, having hinted during the run-up to the Heisman Trophy presentation that he might remain another year at Ohio State.

As of now, the Giants own the fourth overall pick. They can go as high as third or as low as fifth. By late Sunday night, they’ll know where they stand.

In the meantime, there is one more game to be played, and Giants fans ought to be rooting for their team to win, regardless of what it means in April.

Just worry about today. Tomorrow will take care of itself.

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