When you think of the New York Giants, you think of a team with a rich championship history that has long cemented itself as one of the NFL's flagship organizations. The franchise's 2007 postseason run and Super Bowl XLII victory was a prime example of the team's resilience and ability to perform under pressure. It was an impressive feat that fans will remember for years to come.
One key Giant who came away with one of the biggest plays of the postseason was former cornerback R.W. McQuarters, who recently joined the Giants Huddle podcast to discuss one of the greatest playoff runs in NFL history.
The journey to glory was not an easy one, but the 2007 Giants persevered and showed true grit and determination. Not to mention they caught fire at the right time with the right players.
"I think when you look at our roster you had (Michael) Strahan, Osi (Umenyiora), Barry (Cofield), (Justin) Tuck upfront, Freddy Robbins, (Mathias) Kiwanuka we had a good front seven," McQuarters said. "In the back we had Corey Webster, (Sam) Madison, we had just drafted Aaron Ross, so when you look at the names I think for us it was one of those things where we couldn't win at home but we won every game on the road, and we had a good team, we had good guys, we had humble guys, we had energetic guys, we had fun guys, and in our downtime we had fun, and I think probably around week six or seven is when it turned around for us."
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While the Giants had the right personnel to make a title run, McQuarters knew that former Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo's coaching helped steer the team's defense.
"Spags was really sharp, we didn't just come in like a traditional defense and run cover one, two, or three, we always had a little tweak in it, we always had a little tweak in our defensive line, and if you go back and rewatch the Super Bowl we let Tuck pick which gap he wanted to go in, McQuarters said." That's part of being a defensive coordinator knowing your personnel and knowing how to create pressure, create penetration and create the havoc on the offensive side."
On their way to taking down the undefeated New England Patriots, the Giants faced perhaps their most challenging opponent in the NFC playoff picture when they traveled to Irving, Texas for a showdown against the conference's top-seeded team, the Dallas Cowboys. They entered this Divisional Round matchup with the Cowboys having already won the two regular season contests between the teams.
With the Giants leading 21-17 late in the game, the Cowboys put together a drive that got deep into New York territory. However, the defense held up when they needed it most. On 4th and 11, McQuarters intercepted Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, which ended the game.
"We were running a defense called Florida at the time, and my job was to stay inside of number two if he breaks out and goes out to the corner the safety picks up one and sort of frees me up, and Terry Glenn he ran a little shake route he was running like a little stutter to continue on to the endzone, and I knew that they run this play all the time," McQuarters said. "I just stayed inside, and the moment I've told my friends this story, I don't even know how I got my hands up because the moment I turned to look for the ball it was there, and I knew that was it."
A few weeks later, the Giants pulled off arguably the greatest upset in NFL history by taking down Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and a Patriots team one win shy from perfection.
In addition to sharing stories from the epic '07 run, McQuarters also gave his take on where the Giants currently stand as the team gets ready for the start of the season.
"I like the coach, I was kind of shocked we made the playoffs last year, but I was happy we made the playoffs, we should probably get there again this year, maybe second round, it just depends on maybe how the injury situation goes, but for the most part they got a lot of the same people back, I know it's always a new year," McQuarters said. "Daniel (Jones) is looking a little bit better, looking stronger, and more mature now, they just signed Saquon (Barkley) I hope he can stay healthy, I hope the wide receivers can stay healthy, we had some receivers go down late which hurt us."
View iconic photos from the Giants' Super Bowl XLII victory over the undefeated Patriots.