Sunday's historic, devastating 38-31 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles is about as bad as it gets for New York Giants fans. But, chins up Giants fans. You have been through this before -- in fact, you have been through much worse. That is the kind of team the Giants have always been -- one that can bring you to the highest highs, and the lowest lows, nearly all at the same time.
Let's use today's SB Nation New York Top 5 to look at the five worst losses in Giants history other than the fourth-quarter meltdown that occurred Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium. We will keep it to the Super Bowl era, so we won't go back to the 1958 NFL Championship Game -- also a devastating loss.
1. The Fumble
Eagles 19, Giants 17 (Nov. 19, 1978)
This might be the most bone-headed play in NFL history, and I'm sure it is one Giants fans have thought about a lot in the past 24 hours. You all remember. A 17-12 lead over the Eagles, who have no timeouts. Rather than take a knee, quarterback Joe Pisarcik tries to hand the ball to Larry Csonka, fumbles, Herman Edwards scoops and scores. Eagles win. Offensive coordinator Bob Gibson was fired the next morning. Head coach John McVay was let go at the end of the season. At least Matt Dodge's mistake was a physical one. This is the dumbest play call in NFL history.
2. The Trey Junkin Game
49ers 39, Giants 38 (NFC Wild-Card Playoff, Jan. 5, 2003)
This, to my mind, is an even worse collapse than the one the Giants suffered on Sunday. They led the 49ers 38-14 with 19 minutes to go before Jeff Garcia led San Francisco back. Like Sunday, there were a host of miscues and missed opportunities by the Giants, and a goat in the kicking game.
The guy who will always be reviled when Giants fans think of this game is long-snapper Trey Junkin. The veteran long-snapper had been coaxed out of retirement by then-coach Jim Fassel when the Giants needed a snapper for the game. Even after the Giants had blown the lead they had an opportunity to win, but Junkin sent a bad snap to holder Matt Allen and the Giants never got off a kick. Allen tried a desperation pass that fell incomplete. Remember that this was not Junkin's only bad snap in the game, either. Yes, there should have been off-setting penalties called that would have given the Giants another chance, but it never should have come to that.
This one is worse than Sunday because it ended the Giants' season.
3. Rams 19, Giants 13 (OT)
NFC Divisional Playoff (Jan. 7, 1990)
The Los Angeles Rams stun the Giants when Flipper Anderson takes a 30-yard pass barely a minute into overtime into the end zone, through the end zone and into the tunnel at Giants Stadium to end the Giants season. You know what I remember about this game? Thank God my wife made me take her to a movie, so I didn't have to watch it. Don't remember the movie, either, but that's OK.
4. Vikings 23, Giants 22
NFC wild-card playoff (NFC Wild-Card Playoff)
Another stunning collapse by the Giants. A nine-point lead with four minutes to go, and they lose. Eerily similar to Sunday in that a bad punt and a botched effort to recover an onside kick ended up being the plays that cost the Giants.
5. Tennessee 24, Giants 21
Nov. 26, 2006
This is the Mathias Kiwanuka lets Vince Young go on fourth-and-10 game. It's also a game the Giants were winning, 21-0, halfway through the third quarter before unraveling.
You know what I learned through all of this? No lead is ever safe when the New York Giants have it.