They’re reviewing it.
The ball regarded to have been fumbled proper on the purpose line. The Raiders regarded to have sprinted away with it, denying us what may very well be our greatest probability of scoring a landing this season. Now, it seems to be as if the decision may be overturned.
Play resumes with the ball within the arms of Daniel Jones, quarterback of the 0-8 New York Giants, who at present sit backside of the NFL standings.
third and purpose. Final probability.
He’s going to run for the endzone once more, hoping this time that the ball will come all the best way with him. There’s the snap. Right here he comes, gently crab-walking in the direction of the writhing mass of roaring, colliding our bodies. A few of these in black jerseys attain him and start to wrestle him down.
They’re too late. He’s in for six.
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A squad within the midst of one of the brutally horrible seasons within the historical past of the NFL, of organised sport normally, rush in the direction of Jones, celebrating the truth that – for what looks as if the primary time in perpetually – they’ve really taken the lead in a recreation. Within the merciless and unknowable future, the very subsequent possession is already seeing the Raiders, who’ll go on to win the sport by a rating of 24-7, draw again stage.
However it doesn’t matter.
It doesn’t matter to the doomed Giants, and by extension the person controlling them, as a result of, since this simulation of the 2023 season in Madden NFL 24 started, we’ve been utilizing the traditional Chinese language knowledge of Taoism to type a mindset resistant to the miserable realities of being a foul sports activities group.
“The submissive and weak will overcome the exhausting and robust,” reads one passage of my English translation of the Tao Te Ching, Taoism’s foundational textual content. On this specific Madden save, no less than from a sensible perspective, you might argue this hasn’t confirmed true. Having taken management of the Giants quarterback and tried to play in a way that mirrors the relaxed, naturally harmonious lifestyle described within the guide, wins weren't forthcoming. By the point we reached our third recreation of the yr, we’d already come the closest we'd to notching a victory, having fallen by a rating of eight to 6 towards the Arizona Cardinals in week 2.
Face off. | Picture credit score: VG247/EA
Our technique, which decreed that each offensive play may solely ever see Jones scramble, and by that I imply go for a leisurely stroll within the basic route of the endzone, didn’t precisely lend itself to scoring numerous factors. Nevertheless, the Tao instructed us to “blunt the sharpness, untangle the knots, soften the glare, let your wheels transfer solely alongside outdated ruts,” in order that’s what we did. Jones, taking over the position of the sage, aimed in governing his teammates on the offense to “(empty) their minds, however (fill) their bellies, (weaken) their wills, however (strengthen) their bones.”
That meant that no performs of both the operating or passing selection have been to be referred to as, with the quarterback as an alternative in search of to permit his receivers and operating backs to earn their cash with out considerably risking their well being by getting hit. As an alternative, the group’s highest earner took the entire punishment on their behalf, figuring out that his largely assured contract may provide him a security blanket that (whereas not 100% secure) continues to be far more so than these of his friends.
From the 42-0 loss to the Dallas Cowboys that kicked off the season, by means of thorough pummelings by everybody from the 49ers to the Patriots and even some video games that have been just a little bit nearer – resembling a shocking 16 to 6 encounter with the high-flying Eagles – Jones has been Atlas, stoically bearing the burden of his group and their followers on his shoulders. Amid the eerie silence that’s frequently gripped the cavernous MetLife Stadium because the Giants’ residence trustworthy have repeatedly watched opposing squads unleash brutal beatings on their group and run up the rating, he’s stood unflinching. Throughout away video games performed on international soil, with opposing followers cheering and jeering raucously as they witness their group placed on its most dominant efficiency of the season, he’s remained unfazed.
Can he do it on a chilly, wet night time at MetLife? | Picture credit score: VG247/EA
“Therefore the superior will need to have the inferior as root,” the Tao Te Ching says, “the excessive will need to have the low as base.” This yr, the Giants have been the NFL’s base. Whereas groups just like the Payments and Cowboys racked up scores of wins, augmenting their totals with drubbings of lowly groups, the Giants and their struggling ilk amassed their very own loss-heavy data. Via the primary 10 weeks of the season, the G-men shared the destiny of being winless with the Chicago Bears. We weren’t by ourselves. Then, the Bears beat the Lions.
“I alone am muddled, calm like the ocean; like a excessive wind that by no means ceases,” says the Tao Te Ching, “the multitude all have a objective. I alone am silly and uncouth.” The aim of NFL groups is to try to make the playoffs, one thing all three groups that performed the Giants greater than as soon as throughout this season managed to perform. The Buffalo Payments, who beat the Giants 28-3 in week six, go on to win the superbowl over a San Francisco group that did one thing related.
The aim of a defensive go rusher is to sack the quarterback, knocking him to the bottom earlier than he could make a play. All the gamers who finish the season within the high 12 when it comes to recording probably the most sacks throughout this season have their numbers inflated by performances towards the Giants. Every week, 4 gamers obtain awards from the league for his or her excellent numerical performances of their recreation. Following 15 out of the 17 video games the Giants play, considered one of their opponents receives considered one of these accolades.
Hiya there. | Picture credit score: VG247/EA
The Giants aren’t purposely dropping video games as a way to rating a excessive draft decide, a follow distinctive to American sports activities often known as tanking. The save file they’re in is doomed to finish after a single season, earlier than any draft can happen. The proverbial saviour who’d make the entire struggling value it, no less than in idea, isn’t coming. So, all of the Big gamers can do, very similar to their brethren on any sports activities group doubtlessly constructed to backside out by its administration, is play for their very own delight. They'll take solace in having been the mandatory footnote within the successes laid out above.
With out their participation, none of it, and not one of the good for these concerned that has or may come to go due to it, would have been doable. Because the Tao Te Ching says of the best ruler: “when his work is completed and his work finished, the folks will say ‘it occurred to us naturally’.”
That stated, whereas the Giants have been forming the inspiration of others’ achievements, they’ve additionally been busy constructing one thing lovely for themselves. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been capable of rating many factors, operating on each play has led Jones to rack up loads of yards, along with his teammates serving to to insulate his strolls from the opposition for simply lengthy sufficient to make incremental, metronomic features.
Each yard counts. | Picture credit score: VG247/EA
By the point the season is over, the Giants QB has not solely managed to guide the league when it comes to cumulative speeding yard totals for the 2023 season, however has supplanted Eric Dickerson’s 1984 whole of two,105 yards to notch the best speeding mark ever achieved by an NFL participant in a single a season. Dickerson amassed his whole in 16 video games in comparison with Jones’ 17, however his Rams group have been additionally capable of go the ball.
The Giants’ opponents got here to know precisely what was approaching each offensive possession. They nonetheless couldn’t cease Jones and his group from writing their names into the historical past books.
Two thousand 100 and fifty yards. Daniel Jones. 2023 New York Giants.
The Giants play out the ultimate snap of their season, one which ends with Jones being the sufferer of the ultimate sack ever recorded by soon-to-retire Eagles defensive finish Brandon Graham. I discover myself desirous about two passages from the Tao Te Ching. One reads: “The entire world recognises the gorgeous as the gorgeous, but that is solely the ugly, the entire world recognises the great as the great, but that is solely the dangerous.”
The opposite says: “Know contentment, and you'll undergo no shame; know when to cease, and you'll meet with no hazard, you possibly can then endure.” Taken collectively they sum up the season this Madden experiment conjured up.
The Giants have been typically ugly, they have been typically dangerous, they battled shame and hazard at each flip. However, in their very own method, they managed to be lovely and to be good. Most significantly, they did what all of us must do in a world that always feels merciless and hopeless.
They're too late. | Picture credit score: VG247/EA.