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Paradise Lost

He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life. – Genesis 3:24

The Giants are returning to the scene of their greatest triumph in recent memory, their win in Super Bowl XLII. It’s also their first trip back to the last place where everything was right with their world.

When they played the Cardinals on Nov. 23, 2008, they won 37-29. It was the last game of their Age of Innocence. It was Dec. 6, 1941. Nov. 21, 1963. Sept. 10, 2001.

Certainly the events of the days following that game pale in comparison to monumental, devastating events that followed the other dates I mentioned. But in football terms, that was as close to a turning point for a franchise as you can pinpoint. Everything before that game was different from the way it became after that game.

The Giants returned from that contest with a 10-1 record, tied for the best in the NFL, and a three-game lead in the NFC East as defending Super Bowl champions. Five days later, Plaxico Burress – who had tried to play in the game but came out after running one deep route with a sore hamstring – shot himself in the leg. The Giants won the following weekend, but then lost three of their final four games and were bounced from the playoffs in the first round. They have not been back to the playoffs since.

That game in Arizona was the last time the Giants seemed to be unbeatable. Invincible. They haven’t had that look or feel since that game. They’ve won big games – including last week’s against Philly – but they haven’t had an aura since playing in that game in Arizona nearly three years ago.

And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them.


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