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CBSSports.com Senior NFL Columnist

Jets can win the headlines, but Giants will take the hardware

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Jerry Reese's moves last summer weren't sexy, but helped the Giants win a Super Bowl title. (Getty Images)  
Jerry Reese's moves last summer weren't sexy, but helped the Giants win a Super Bowl title. (Getty Images)  

PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Let me interrupt this regularly scheduled Tim Tebow news cycle to remind the people of New York and the rest of the NFL of something they've seemed to forget.

The New York Giants won a Super Bowl less than two months ago.

You'd never know it by the way things have been going lately. The New York Jets, that other team in the nation's biggest city, have become the back-page team of record for the New York tabloids -- a virtual endless stream of news, some good, some bad, some about a certain backup-quarterback mania that officially hit the city Monday.

It's Jets this and Jets that.

It's Mark Sanchez and Rex Ryan and players griping and now it has Tebowmania.

The Giants? They just go about their business the right way, the winning way.

Titles aren't won in March. Nor are they won by hogging the headlines.

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Has anybody mentioned the name Eli Manning in a month?

As Giants general manager Jerry Reese made his way through the halls here at the league's annual meetings, I stopped him to talk about his team, the one that will be fitted with rings later on this year. You might remember that team, the one that beat New England in the Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis in early February?

"Nothing wrong with that," Reese said. "They're trying to do what's best for them to win. I don't have any comments on what other people are doing. I just try and do what's best for the Giants."

What's best for the Giants is drafting well and building a winner. The Giants don't have to hog the headlines in March because they hogged them in January and February.

Free agency, when headlines get made in the offseason, is for teams that draft poorly. They cover their mistakes.

The Giants don't draft poorly. Therefore they don't need to spend.

Good teams don’t. A year ago, Reese was ripped for not signing free agents while the rival Eagles loaded up on big-ticket items. Reese was ripped for allowing receiver Steve Smith to leave as a free agent to sign with Philadelphia.

Anybody want to take Smith over Victor Cruz, his replacement, now? Even Smith's family wouldn't take him over Cruz.

Reese didn't draft Cruz, but he signed him as a non-drafted free agent and he liked what he saw from him in the summer of 2010.

"We didn't know he'd be that good," Reese said. "But we liked our receivers."

Reese also signed backup guard Kevin Boothe to a new contact last summer. That's not sexy for fans, but it proved to be a great move as Boothe started at both guard and center and was a big part of the Giants success in the playoffs.

This was a perfect example of Reese understanding his team. Rather than spend on somebody else's player, why not sign one of your own, a player who has been with the team since 2006?

"He has been in our system and coming off a lockout, we didn't have time to train many new offensive linemen," Reese said. "He's a good player."

Reese was put on the defensive by his lack of movement last year. This year, it's been even slower. The Giants have not signed any marquee free agents -- although giving Dallas tight end Martellus Bennett a one-year deal was smart considering two tight ends went down with knee injuries in the Super Bowl.

One of the Giants' bigger signings was to give punter Steve Weatherford, a 2010 free-agent acquisition, a long-term deal.

Punter signings don't make for back-page news.

Not with Tebow. Not with Ryan. Not with Sanchez being under the microscope.

Even Reese said this about his free-agent hauls the past two years: "It hasn't been splashy."

Splash doesn't win games. Good drafting does. And Reese, who is in his sixth season running the Giants draft, is good at it.

Free agency and March news isn't his style.

"Every year in free agency is different," Reese said. "Next year we might go out and sign 10 guys. Who knows?"

Doubt it. That's not the winning way.

Headline stealers in March rarely are the NFL headline stealers the next January.

So enjoy it, Jets fans. Tebowmania is yours, but let's be real: You wish it were Eli Manning-mania.


Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. He hosted his own radio show for seven years, and is the self-anointed star of CBS Sports' show, Eye on Football. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an Arizona State national title in football.
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