The top ten of our "Most important Giants for 2012" series begins with one of the most overlooked positions: the punter. But first, here are the links to the honorable mentions and the players who received only one vote.
Voters: Dr. Bill Chachkes, Kel Dansby, John Fennelly, Chris Johnson, Dan Orlando (Sports World Report), Rich Resch, Craig Santucci, Dan Stack, Jon Wagner
Steve WeatherfordVotes received: Santucci (8th place), Fennelly (9th), Resch (9th), Wagner (9th)
Wagner: Field position is drastically undervalued sometimes, and the improvement that Weatherford gave the Giants in that area was invaluable last year. This workout fiend keeps himself in too great shape to get hurt, but you never know in the NFL, and the Giants would sorely miss him if he did.
Fennelly: He has been a breath of fresh air for the special teams.
Santucci: Made a huge impact for the Giants in 2011. Weatherford is a difference maker and pro at his craft.
Resch: Think this is too high for a punter? Two words: Matt Dodge. In fairness to Dodge, this ranking has a lot more to do with Weatherford's success than Dodge's failures. The Giants' special teams were dreadful in 2010, and Weatherford was the biggest reason for their turnaround in 2011.
Weatherford endeared himself to Giants fans with his directional punting prowess, reminiscent of Jeff Feagles in his prime (a prime that lasted roughly 17 years). He was a weapon all year long, but Weatherford raised his game to another level in the playoffs. He may have been one of the five most valuable Giants players in the Super Bowl, and let's not forget that he corralled a bad snap on the NFC Championship winning field goal. There are plenty of other Giants deserving of being on this list that will miss out, but the field position advantage that Weatherford gives the Giants is a big part of their success.