EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The Giants are on the cusp of reaching the NFC Championship game for the first time since 2012. They just have those pesky Philadelphia Eagles standing in their way.
This season’s struggles against the NFC East rival have been well documented and the Giants know what challenges lie ahead of them. But those challenges also give this Giants team a chance to carve out a legacy for themselves.
New York hadn’t made it to the playoffs since 2016 and they hadn’t won a playoff game since they won the Super Bowl in 2012 before this season. Those are two things that can no longer be said about the Giants thanks to this year’s edition of the team.
Those facts weren’t too much of a concern for Andrew Thomas heading into the playoffs, and with the Giants looking for their first postseason win over the Eagles in 21 years he isn’t focusing too much on that either.
“We don’t really have time to focus on the past,” Thomas told amNewYork on Wednesday. “You know what I’m saying? Just focusing on getting better each day. It’s just building when we get an opportunity and if we continue to do that, then we will build our legacy.”
Still, the Giants know what’s at stake on Saturday against the No. 1 team in the NFC and a heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl early in the year. New York has dropped both games they’ve faced them this season, including a lopsided loss in early December.
But they can erase all of that with a win to advance to the NFC title game. And for players like Saquon Barkley, help build upon a legacy.
Barkley had a comeback season to remember this year as he regained his rookie form and became one of the best backs in the league. The 25-year-old earned a Pro Bowl nod and his touchdown on Sunday ended up being the game-winner.
He has likely earned a new contract to stay in the Big Apple and now he wants to build his way to being one of the game’s greats.
“You got to do it and both, regular season, postseason and throughout your whole career,” Barkley said about what needs to be done to become one of the greats. “There’s gonna be ups, there’s gonna be downs, but you got to try to be a consistent player if you want to create a legacy. You look all the Giants’ greats, they did it in the postseason.”
Barkley acknowledged that it’s a bit of extra motivation going into to Saturday night against the Eagles, but added that he hadn’t even thought about it going into his first career playoff game.
“You’re just so locked and so focused, because every play, every quarter is so crucial,” he continued. “And the situation becomes so critical, because if you don’t take care of one game, you go home. That’s really what really pushes you is just your competitive nature just goes to a whole nother level. Your intensity just rises because of the nature of the game.”
With the Giants potentially a game away from the NFC title game, their run in the postseason joins a few other recent surprise runs by New York teams. The Islanders shocked the hockey world by going to back-to-back conference championships in 2020 and 2021 and the Rangers made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Final last year, which came as a shock.
While Thomas and the Giants haven’t gotten to experience the buzz around the area in person because of their schedules, they’re aware of it.
“From my social media and stuff you can tell that people are excited about this game. And we’re excited to0. This playoff game means a lot, so looking forward to it,” Thomas said.