When the schedule was released, the likelihood the Dec. 30 season finale would remain a 1 p.m. kickoff was remote. The Giants and especially the Cowboys have large national followings, and the probability was high at least one of these NFC East rivals would be playing for something in Week 17.
As it turns out, Sunday’s game stays at 1 p.m., continuing a trend that illustrates the irrelevancy factor attached to yet another losing Giants season. The Cowboys have already clinched the division title and the Giants are already assured of last place.
Thus, as it turns out, the final seven games for the Giants will all be 1 p.m. starts, a timeslot designated for teams out of contention and not deemed worthy of dropping into the late-afternoon television window that attracts higher ratings. Fans love 1 p.m. starts, and players and coaches appreciate the routine of getting up and preparing for a game. There is a reason Bill Parcells bought a thoroughbred racehorse and named it Sunday at One.
As far as judging the quality and success of a team by when it plays, the earlier, the worse. The JV game usually is played before the varsity tips off and, in many ways, the Giants this season, as well as in 2017, served as the junior varsity when compared with the league’s elite.