EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Western New Yorker Brian Daboll was happy after Sunday’s win over the Houston Texans.
It would be easy to assume being 7-2 and having the New York Giants in position for the franchise’s first playoff appearance since the 2016 season made Daboll happy.
It really wasn’t. He had a smile on his face because his daughter, Avery, had asked her father for a win for her birthday. The team delivered, and Dad probably will get her a game ball or something.
Daboll, a St. Francis graduate who was raised by his grandparents in West Seneca, laughed when asked if any of his other five children had a birthday coming soon and what he would do if they asked for a playoff berth or even a Super Bowl.
While he is a first-year head coach, Daboll knows nothing is guaranteed in sports. He came into the NFL as an offensive assistant with the Patriots in 2000 and missed the playoffs. He was a Super Bowl winner the following season, missed the playoffs the next year and then won two consecutive NFL titles.
Thinking about the postseason was easy then. He doesn’t do it any more.
“It’s a God’s honest truth, you just worry about the next day, the meeting, just having practice,” Daboll said Monday. “I know it’s boring, but that’s the truth. You have to focus and stay in the moment because it really doesn’t matter, there’s so many games to be played.
“It’s good to be 7-2, but again, it’ll humble you really quick when you start worrying about the wrong things or thinking about the wrong things to me in this business,” he added.
Daboll’s players have adopted his approach. So this week is about preparing to host Detroit on Sunday. Worrying about the Thanksgiving game at Dallas probably will start 15 minutes after the Lions’ game is over.
It’s been a winning formula for the Giants, at least for the first nine games. So why change it?