The League

Zach Leibowitz
Sideline Reporter

Zach Leibowitz

A former sideline reporter for ESPN

Giant Statement for NFC

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Maybe the Giants' 18-1 statement over New England, in arguably the greatest shocker in Super Bowl history, was more than just a game. After long AFC domination this decade -- with the sole exception of Tampa's surprise run in '02 -- the Giants victory may symbolize that the wheel has turned.

In his first game after the February loss, disaster hit Tom Brady square on the knee. Then the Colts lost to the Bears and the Chargers fell to the Panthers -- at home. Call Miramax, the scripts are changing. Suddenly there are glaring weaknesses in the NFL's NBA Western Conference.

The defending champions reside in the NFC Beast, back where it belongs. After finishing 2007 with zero sub-.500 teams, the Boys, Birds, G-Men and 'Skins return in '08 ready to reach higher and revive the historic rivalries they are known for.

And a different South may be rising again.

The NFC South, a constant divisional guessing game, appears to be heading in the same direction again. Will it be a Bucs repeat or will the Saints emerge after a downer last season? Or will Carolina, fresh off their memorable win Sunday, be destined for glimpses of 2003? And while Atlanta will settle in the basement when its all said and done, an impressive Matt Ryan debut might have built momentum sooner than expected.

In the other South, the Colts loss is disturbing in that that sort of thing just doesn't happen in Peyton's Place this early in the season. And will the real Jaguars please stand up? You want to believe Tennessee will rise to the Steve McNair and Eddie George days, but with Vince Young's constant state of unknown, it's hard to believe they'll be more than a 9-7 squad. And the Texans are still the Texans. One season Houston will pull a Tampa Bay Rays out of nowhere. Until that happens, they still bring the division down.

It's still very, very early and the NFC is one Tony Romo or Brian Westbrook or Plaxico Burress or Drew Brees injury from falling behind again in the race for conference supremacy.

But the NFC made a Giant statement in February. The changing of times is already underway.

By Zach Leibowitz  |  September 10, 2008; 12:22 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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