Giants co-owner Steve Tisch believes the Giants' 29-14 win over the Jets on Dec. 24 was a huge turning point in the season. And not just because the Giants won, but because of the circumstances in which they won.
"In its own unique way, it was kind of a mini-Super Bowl," Tisch said in the Giants' locker room today as the team prepared for Sunday's NFC divisional playoff game in Green Bay. "It was a very important game. There was a lot more at stake than just a regular season game that happened to be against the Jets. New York City, pride, Jets fans, Giants fans, two different cultures, two different sets of mythologies. Beating the Jets - it was their home game - added just an extra level of 'We did it. We're good. We're moving on. Let's go."
The Giants have now won three straight heading into the Packers' game, following up the Jets' win with a season-ending victory over the Cowboys that clinched the NFC East title and a first-round playoff win over the Falcons.
"I think emotionally [the Jets win] solidified a lot of feelings," Tisch said. "It was not a regular season game that uniquely fell at the end of the season. I don't think anyone realized how critically important this game would be when the schedule came out. It was an enhancement that the fans loved, the viewers loved. It was like a perfect storm of how important this game turned out to be and how important it was for us to take the 'W' home."
Tisch said the two franchises are highly competitive, but he said the Jets "aren't the enemy. They're our partners in this stadium. We are co-hosting a Super Bowl in 2014. We both have great football teams, great coaching, great players, a fan base that is divided amongst Jets fans and Giants fans. But they’re our partners, not our enemies."
Tisch also commended coach Tom Coughlin for keeping his team together despite second-half struggles during a four-game losing streak.
"Tom has inspired them to recognize that. they’ve gotten it together at such a high level. To maintain that level is very impressive, very gratifying. It's a real testament to the coach, the coaching staff and all the players."