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First playoff trip for Giants' David Baas

David Baas #64 of the New York Giants

David Baas #64 of the New York Giants in action against the New York Jets. (Aug. 29, 2011) Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

There are 27 players on the Giants' roster who have never experienced a playoff game. Most of them are rookies or younger guys. Some have kicked around the league for a few more years. No one has waited as long as David Baas.

The 30-year-old center and seven-year veteran spent the first six years of his career with the 49ers where his seasons would perennially end after 16 games. Now, in his first season as the starting center for the Giants, he's finally getting to play a 17th.

His level of excitement? It's summed up in two words: Ho and hum.

"It's the same," he said this week while preparing to face the Falcons in a wild card game on Sunday. "We've been in the playoffs for the last two weeks. It's win or go home. How is that any different? In my mind it's the same. I don't feel like it's a difference."

So while the veterans around the room are preparing the younger players for what the playoffs will be like, warning them about the speed and intensity and energy that comes with this part of the season, Baas figures it'll be just another day.

"It's not like we go out there and go crazy and have all these giant emotions," he said. "Of course we're going to be excited. I'm excited. I'm really excited for this game. I've been in the league long enough to understand that the speed of the game is going to be super fast and you have to be focused - just like we have been the last two weeks."

Baas did note the irony that he had to come to the Giants to make the playoffs in a season when his former team had a breakthrough year and claimed the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

"There was a little bit of the unknown in San Francisco," he said of his decision to leave as a free agent last summer. "It's great for them that they're doing so well but I had no idea that that would happen. The Giants, their organization, their history, you had that feeling. That was a big part of [the decision to sign here]."

It's been a disjointed first season for Baas, who has started 11 games this season but no more than four in a row during any stretch due to neck and knee injuries. He had played in all 16 games each of the previous two seasons and even received the team's Bobb McKittrick Award presented to the offensive lineman who "best represents courage, intensity and sacrifice." Here in New York, he's had to fight through serious injuries and try to make a strong first impression while having to miss games on a team where the offensive linemen traditionally don't do that.

"It's been a bumpy road," he admitted, "but we've been together as a team and guys have filled in."

And now they're a playoff team. Even though Baas isn't letting himself really enjoy the experience. At least not yet.

"This is wonderful, it's great that we're NFC East champions, but we've moved on," he said. "We want to keep going. We want to go far. This is the first step . . . It's great, but it's only great if you go all the way in my opinion."

New York Sports