It's How You Finish That Counts



The NY Giants began the 2011 with a loser. Nothing to worry about. Other than that it was against the lightly regarded Washington Redskins. No need to panic yet- they would still get to play St Louis, Philadelphia, Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo before their bye-week. It was time to make up some ground in the dangerous NFC East. No Problem. They promptly went out and won 4 of 5 games, with the only loss handed to Seattle on a silver platter. The game after their bye-week was close as the Giants topped the Dolphins 20-17. And now the game that would define their first half of the season, as they had to go to Foxboro to play the Patriots. WOW! They flew back to the Big Apple carrying a huge 24-20 upset victory and a commanding lead in the NFC East.

But then the mid-season slump hit them. The traveled to San Fran and lost. They hosted Philadelphia and lost. They went to New Orleans on a Monday Night and got blown-out 49-24. Now the New York Media was out to get someone fired for this losing streak. Head Coach Tom Coughlin was the first name that came to mind. Then they played host to Green Bay and lost again. Four straight losers and questions were being tossed everywhere. Fortunately, they made a miraculous comeback to beat their bitter rival the Dallas Cowboys in "the House That Jones Built" and stood at 7-6. Not exactly the position necessary to keep the vicious New York media off your back. But what the heck, Washington was due back to play in New York and they could certainly count on beating them. This was the chance to go from 7-6 to 8-6 and put some cushion in the season. NOT!!

The Redskins pulled the rare feat of sweeping the Giants as they humiliated the Jint at home 23-10. The season appeared lost. Their record was a humbling .500. Heads should roll. The first scalp to be called for was the once again the head coach. Tom Coughlin was assaulted publicly, verbally and in the media nightly. The Giants were now 7-7 with two games to play. The season was rapidly slipping from their grasp! The Big Blue Wrecking Crew was wreaking havoc on all the old-time Giant supporters. And the worst fear of all was 6 days away. What if the Giants lost to the New York Jets?

The Jets were the small favorite with the Vegas Oddsmakers, but an even bigger favorite if the hounding of the media to fire Coach Coughlin was calculated. After all said and done, the Giants escaped with a convincing 29-14 victory and deflected the NY media on the back of the Jets' Head Coach Rex Ryan for the time being. That had to be a nice day-after for Coughlin. The media would now beat up on Rex Ryan for days to come.

Their final game called for the Giants to host Dallas. This game was so big that it was moved to NBC Prime-time. The Giants entire season was on the line again and in true Wrecking Crew fashion, Big Blue hung a 31-14 win on the Cowboys and it was time to hosts the Falcons which they dominated 24-2. Yes TWO. 24-2. Convincing. No points allowed on defense.

They shocked many as they traveled to Green Bay and won 37-20 with a lot of turnover help from the Packers. And then it was off the cold, windy, rainy San Francisco for the NFC Championship. If you watched the game, the 49er's played their kind of game and should have won- but for 2 fumbled punt returns by a backup. But hey, Super Bowl teams usually mix dominance with pure luck. The Giants stole the NFC Trophy and immediately flew cross-country to the Big Apple to the exhilaration of millions of long time Giants fans...AND the now elated New York media.

The "Heckle & Jeckle" New York media pronounced them the "Darlings of Broadway." Coach Coughlin was now Hall of Fame material. Eli Manning was now much better and more valuable than his brother, Peyton. No more heads to roll. Instead the only talk was of crowns to be placed on heroic heads. Oh how 5 weeks change a team's destiny! Everyone is now on the NY Giants bandwagon. But what if they had not beaten the New York Jets? This is why they play the whole season. Because the way it looks on paper is seldom played out that way on a field. Magical things can happen when a team gels and catches fire. Champions come through in the clutch.

A parallel comes to mind as I reflect the results of the Root Football season for 2011. I too started off successfully. I then hit the same wall as the NFC Champion New York Giants hit at mid-term. And like the Giants, I re-tooled and fought and dedicated everything in my soul to complete the season on a successful note. There were 2 games that still gnaw at me, but my finish was in terms of slapping around the bookie was quite remarkable.

My Bowl Season was a bettor's paradise. On my all-important Millionaire plays or higher rated games, I finished 17-9-1, 68%. My best of the best plays; the No limit Club and the Pinnacle Plays were 9-3-1 for 75% which if bet for high dollar amounts made many a nice Holiday season. I won my Favorite Game of the Year with Florida. I won my New Years Bowl Game of the Year with Stanford. The play that I mentioned that gnaws at me followed those two winning games with Virginia Tech. The Game of the Year resulted in a tie in a game that was hand wrapped and given back 2 times. But a tie is better than a loss and it was off to the NFL Playoffs.

There were many NFL highlight's as I finished out the regular season and remained hot throughout the playoffs. I won 21 of my last 30 NFL picks, 70% winners. I won my Wild Card Game of then Year. I won my Divisional Playoff Game of the Year. All while handicapping Basketball and starting the season with a perfect 4-0 start with the Pinnacle Basketball plays.

But then there's that other loss that gnaws at me. The 49ers getting beat by those darn New York Giants. The game was mine, minus the muffed punt and the fumble in OT. We should have gone 3-0 (with Baltimore cover plus the under in San Fran/Giants total mixed in). A magical 3-0 became a disappointing 2-1. We had the game. I'm still sick to my stomach. That one may take a week to heal.

But it was a great finish to the season, with one big game to go.

The moral to the story: Stick with it. The parallel of the New York Giants' success and the Wayne Root's fantastic finish is remarkably similar. We're both solid winners. We never quit or give up. When the NY Giants were 7-7 they didn't hang it up. When I had the worst weekend of my career the weekend after Thanksgiving, I never wavered, never thought of giving in or giving up. I continued my fight. At the end is the only time a season can be properly reflected upon. I'll take a fantastic finish every time over how one begins a season. Champions always find the will to win and more importantly, the way to end strong. Congratulations to the New York Giants.

Best Wishes & Profitable Wagering,

Wayne Allyn Root


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