New York football is at an all-time low. Since 2017, the Giants have the league’s worst record, tied with — you guessed it, their MetLife roommates, the New York Jets. The 2021 campaign has gone as one would expect for a team with a record of 18-49 since the start of the 2017 season. Still, that’s not to say it doesn’t sting. Losing back-to-back games in quintessential Giants fashion, the organization has fallen to 0-3 for the fifth consecutive season and fans are rightfully displeased.
This past Sunday, Big Blue faithful didn’t wait until the clock struck zero to voice their anger. A disappointing first half against an underwhelming Atlanta Falcons team was enough for their anger to boil over into what was supposed to be — and still is — a monumental day in Giants history. During Eli Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony at halftime, co-owner John Mara stepped to the podium where he was subsequently drowned out by boos raining down from the nearly 80,000 disgruntled fans in the stadium.
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Saquon Barkley Pushes Back on Mara Hate: ‘He’s Done a Great Job’
Mara took the criticism in stride, telling ESPN’s Jordan Raanan and a handful of other reporters after the ceremony that “I would boo too. We’re 0-2 and down at the half.” However, while Mara may find the fans’ displeasure warranted, star running back Saquon Barkley does not. The fourth-year pro seemingly understands the fanbase’s disappointment but believes that their anger is being miscast.
“I don’t think that’s fair to Mr. Mara. I think he’s done a great job. He’s a great owner. We just have to keep doing better as a team,” Barkley told reporters after the loss.
Barkley isn’t wrong, the team does have to do better — a whole lot better. Yet, the fact of the matter is, the Giants have gotten by for way too long on their past successes as a “storied franchise.” On pace for their eighth losing season over the past decade and their ninth year without a playoff appearance over that span, the glory days are long behind them. Yes, Mara did greenlight a $200 million spending spree this offseason, as noted by The Athletic’s Dan Duggan. However, that doesn’t exactly matter when your personnel and day-to-day decisions are powered by an outdated approach.
Daniel Jones Responds to Fans Booing Evan Engram
Boos weren’t reserved for just Mara. There was plenty to go around in Week 3, and in the least shocking news of the weekend, tight end Evan Engram was yet again on the receiving end of fans’ fury. In his first action of the season, the reigning Pro Bowler failed to make much of a positive impact, hauling in just two receptions — one of which he coughed up on a lost fumble. From that moment on, Engram couldn’t step foot on the field without being bombarded with mounds of jeers.
“I don’t think that was deserved,” Jones told reporters after the game of fans booing Engram. “I’m not sure I really understood that. He played hard all game and fought back from an injury a few weeks ago to be out here. He’s a big-time player for us and is going to be huge for us down the stretch.”
Engram has been long lauded in the Giants organization, viewed in a far more positive light from his coaches and teammates than he is from the fanbase. Jones continued that trend after the loss, pegging the former first-rounder as a “big-time playmaker.”
“I think he knows how much we believe in him, how much I believe in him. Like I said, he’s a big-time playmaker for us,” Jones noted. “He’s made a ton of plays in the past and I have no doubt he’ll continue to do that as we get going in the season. I’ve got a lot of trust and a lot of faith in him personally and I know our team does as well.”
At this point, whether you believe Engram receives a bit too much hate or not, it doesn’t really matter. He has the talent to potentially pop elsewhere. But chances are it’s just not going to work in East Rutherford. He’s become enemy No. 1 for Giants fans and that’s not going to change anytime soon. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, the clock is ticking on Engram’s tenure with the G-Men — something that would likely be best for all parties involved.