MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (AP) -The New York Giants not only sneaked up on football in their run to Sunday's Super Bowl, they also surprised some of their most die-hard fans - the kind who spend untold hours writing their thoughts for the world to see on blogs dedicated to the team.
Nate Rosenblatt, a graduate student and Giants blogger, hopes he's wrong with his statement from December on the team's coach, Tom Coughlin: ``Because Coughlin is a good coach who will lose, more often than not, to great ones, the Giants will never win a Super Bowl with him.''
Now that the team is in the Super Bowl facing the undefeated New England Patriots, it's easy for most fans to claim they believed in them all along, even after an 0-2 start to their season. But the blogs are historical records of what the bloggers were thinking at the time.
And many bloggers thought the Giants would be ... just OK, probably. They'd win about half their games; at their best, they would sneak into the playoffs.
That's pretty much what the impartial observers thought, too.
And obsessive fans who take the time to read the blogs didn't seem to think their authors were underselling the G-men.
When Rosenblatt predicted the team wouldn't win a championship with Coughlin, it did not generate much controversy among the Giants-obsessed commenters on Most Valuable Networks, the blog site where he posts. In fact, some people thought he overstated the team's talent when he said the Giants have had Super Bowl-level talent for the past several years.
``That comment is the one that my readers really killed me on,'' said the 22-year-old Rosenblatt, who studies international relations at Johns Hopkins University.
The bloggers say that as passionate - and as quick to boo - as Giants fans may be, they are also reasonable. As a species, they don't get their hopes up if there's not a good reason to.
And that's how it was not only before this season, but most of the way through it.
``There was too much transition,'' said David Syvertsen, a Montclair State student who blogs on Giants 101 and aspires to a career in an NFL front office. Players were switching positions, he recalled, and the team had to cope with the retirement of Tiki Barber, whom Syvertsen calls ``the best running back of all time in Giants history.''
That explains his preseason prognostication: ``I had pegged the team to go 7-9 before the first game of the season,'' he said.
When was he sold on the notion that the team could be a Super Bowl contender? Not until after they had beaten the Dallas Cowboys to advance to the NFC championship game.
Other bloggers saw the season through rosier (or perhaps bluer) lenses.
James Trotta, a Giants fan living in Seoul, South Korea, where he is a visiting professor of linguistics, is often in time zone anguish. Some Sunday games for his team take place when he's teaching Monday classes.
He pointed to a blog post from last summer where he bashed a pundit who said the team would not do well this season.
But he said an improved defense would change things: ``We'll win some games,'' he predicted.
More than he thought, it turned out.

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