On November 26, 2006, the 6-4 New York Giants stumbled into LP Field to take on the 3-7 Tennessee Titans. Big Blue had begun the season by streaking to a 6-2 record at the half-pole, but was coming off losses to Chicago and Jacksonville.
In this game, they jumped out to a 21-0 lead on a first quarter touchdown pass from Eli Manning to Plaxico Burress followed by a pair rushing touchdowns by Brandon Jacobs in the second quarter. The Giants carried that lead well into the fourth quarter. That’s when it happened.
The Music City Meltdown.
Manning had a pair of passes picked off by the infamous Adam “Pacman” Jones that led to Tennessee scores. The defense broke down as well as defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka let Titans quarterback Vince Young escape a sure game-ending sack thinking the whistle had blown leading to a scramble of 19 yards for a key first down. Defensive back Frank Walker was called for a personal foul, hitting Young out of bounds, which kept another drive alive.
Tennessee scored 10 points in the final 44 seconds to win the game, 24-21.
“I don’t have the words to talk about it right now, and I probably won’t when I see it,” said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin after the game. “We’re going to be sick about this one forever.”
“I never thought they were going to win the game until they won the game,” linebacker Antonio Pierce said.
“What can you say?” said center Shaun O’Hara. “It’s indescribable. I don’t fault anybody for being at a loss for words. It’s sick. It makes you sick.”
They were right. Giant fans were stunned, too. The internet wasn’t what it is today with social media but reactions weren’t good as one can imagine. Here’s what Eric Kennedy of Big Blue Interactive posted in his site:
This franchise is a freaking joke and never fails to find new ways to lose. How many times over the past ten years have Giants’ fans had to put up with catastrophic late-game collapses? It never ends.
Up 21-0 in the fourth quarter, the embarrassing, poorly-coached, quarterback-deficient, leadership-deprived, passionless, and stupid team found a way to surrender 24 points in the last 13 minutes of the football game. It was the type of loss that ruins a season and gets both players and coaches fired.
The Giants managed to rebound and qualified for the postseason with an 8-8 record. They lost in the wildcard round to the Philadelphia Eagles and would go on to win the Super Bowl the next season.
The Titans also finished the season at 8-8 but failed to make the playoffs. They would qualify for the postseason the next two years but then would suffer through a nine-year playoff drought.