INDIANAPOLIS — Two thousand, five hundred and thirteen days.
If you saw the dateline, you know where this is headed. There are four grand datelines in the Giants’ history since 1956:
PASADENA, Calif —
TAMPA, Fla. —
GLENDALE, Ariz. —
And Indianapolis, which is where the Giants will serve as little more than a patsy to the ambitious Colts on Sunday afternoon, but where they experienced their most recent hour of glory — and, you could certainly argue, their most glorious hour of glory.
That was 2,513 days ago, on Feb. 5, 2012. That was the day Eli Manning threw one of the greatest balls he’s ever thrown — heck, one of the greatest balls anyone has ever thrown — and Mario Manningham made what is inarguably the greatest catch he ever made in his life. Four years earlier the Giants had stomped on the Patriots’ perfection but this, somehow, felt even mote satisfying.
This proved that was no fluke.
This one put the Giants in rarefied air — only the Packers, Cowboys, Steelers, 49ers and Patriots have won as many as four Super Bowls. Add in the Giants, and that’s the league’s elite sextet.
So yes, the Rose Bowl will always be meaningful because that was the first one, and because that, to date, is the one Super Bowl you were able to enjoy as a Giants fan in the fourth quarter once they officially steamrolled the Broncos.
Tampa Stadium, the old Sombrero, will always be special because the Giants may have played the most perfect game in NFL history in order to beat the Bills there.
And University of Phoenix Stadium will always have a warm place in memory because of the Helmet catch, because of Eli-to-Plax, because of 18-1.
But Lucas Oil Stadium was the most recent mountaintop. Sometimes, it feels like it happened before color television. Sometimes it feels like it happened 15 minutes ago. In reality, it was 2,513 days ago. And it is that number that weighs heavy on your mind when you ponder the game the Giants will play today, meaningless for them other than as a showcase for Saquon Barkley.
It’s funny: The only other time the Giants visited here, it was something less than a glorious road trip. That was Week 2 of the 2010 season, and it was the second time that Eli had ever faced his brother, Peyton. The first time they’d met, opening week of 2006, had been a genuine barn-burner, Peyton’s Colts outlasting Eli’s Giants, 26-21, at old Giants Stadium.
But that 2010 visit was a massacre, a 38-14 rout in which Peyton threw for 255 yards and three touchdowns while Eli scuffled to 161 yards, two TDs and an interception. It was a difficult first impression at the showcase dome in downtown Indy.
But few remember that one.
It was Feb. 5, 2012, they remember. Super Bowl XLVI. Giants 21, Patriots 17.
It will be good to keep that memory close Sunday, when there will be only one team on the field with real money on the table — and it isn’t the Giants. Andrew Luck will try to either keep the Colts on the playoff bubble or shift them into a better shot for the postseason draw.
Beyond that? Well, the Colts and Giants both still wear their old-school uniforms, so if you’re going to spend some time in the past you can wander all the way back to 1958 or 1959, when they met in the NFL title game. And why not? Anything to keep your mind off what’s become of the Giants in the 2,513 days since they were last here.