The preseason is a time for coaches to evaluate their rosters and determine who can be a contributor when the regular season rolls around. Fans tune in too, with this year’s Hall of Fame game getting higher overnight ratings than Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and all four Game 1 matches of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals, Western Conference Finals, and the MLB’s ALCS and NLCS.
Here is a look at the most memorable moments in recent Giants preseason history.
The least important stat in the preseason is your record. The starters usually only play the first series or two, leaving guys on the roster bubble to make their case for the rest of the game, like Corey Washington in 2015.
The Giants secured a 5-0 record last year on a game winning field goal against the Patriots. That undefeated record led to a lot of misplaced optimism among fans, proving once and for all the preseason record doesn’t matter since the Giants finished the regular season 6-10.
2013: End of the Sanchize
The Giants’ third preseason game is typically played against the Jets, and most teams around the league play their starters into the third quarter of the third game.
In 2013, Mark Sanchez was still in the game in the fourth quarter, and after a big hit by Marvin Austin, he was knocked out of the game and out of New York for good. An unfortunate way for the Giants to end the season of a cross town rival.
2010: Cruz-ing onto the Roster
On a Monday Night against the Jets, an undrafted receiver out of UMass wearing No. 3 caught six passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns. In possibly the most memorable preseason performance of all time, Victor Cruz earned his way onto the Giants roster.
While fans would have to wait until 2011 for his regular season breakthrough, he will always be remembered for that game against the Jets and that No. 3 jersey.
2008: Osi Out for the Year
Steve Spagnuolo and the Giants were preparing to defend their title, already without Michael Strahan, when a non-contact injury against (you guessed it) the Jets tore Osi Umenyiora’s lateral meniscus in his left knee.
Injuries to starters are unavoidable in the preseason, but this one in particular looked to be a back-breaker as Umenyiora was arguably the Giants best player, the only one to make the Pro Bowl the previous season.
2004: Eli’s First Start
In the second preseason game, Eli got his first start in a nationally televised game against Carolina. He went nine of 15 with 117 yards, and no touchdowns or interceptions.
Kurt Warner had a good night as well, going nine of 11 with 71 yards and one interception. Warner would, of course, start the season, before handing the future of Giants football to Manning.