The Giants began the 2000 season hoping to get over the hump of coming short during their past two seasons. They would go on to finish the year with a 12-4 record and represented the NFC in Super Bowl XXXV.
With revived quarterback Kerry Collins the passing game improved from a previously mediocre attack. The running game averaged 256.5 yards per game and became known as the “thunder and lightning" backfield with Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber. The defense allowed just 246 points, with its greatest strength being against the run allowing a second best 3.2 yards per carry.
Early in the season the Giants’ record stood at 7-2 and coming off two double digit wins, before they lost two straight home games to decline to 7-4. That was when Head Coach Jim Fassel made a bold move and publicly stated in the postgame press conference: "This team is going to the playoffs". This became the defining moment of the season, and the Giants won their next five games to become the #1 seed in the NFC playoffs.
In the divisional playoffs, the Giants defeated MVP runner-up Donovan McNabb and the Philadelphia Eagles 20–10, in which rookie WR Ron Dixon returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and Jason Sehorn intercepted a McNabb pass for a touchdown. The win was the third by the Giants over the Eagles for the season.
In the NFC Championship against the favored Minnesota Vikings, Kerry Collins threw five TDs (including two to Ike Hilliard) as they progressed to the franchise's 3rd Super Bowl by demolishing Minnesota 41-0. Combined with the Giants only other NFC championship game played at home (1986), the Giants have outscored their two opponents 58-0 in home NFC championship games.
In the Super Bowl, playing against arguably the greatest defense in history, the Giants were dominated and lost Super Bowl XXXV 34-7 to the Baltimore Ravens. Kerry Collins threw four interceptions, including one that was returned for a TD; the Giants only score was a Ron Dixon 97-yard kick return. It was the Giants' first loss in a Super Bowl, and to date is the only one of the Giants' five Super Bowl appearances that ended in defeat.