The 2002New York Giants season was the team's 78th season in the National Football League. The team improved upon their previous season's 7–9 disappointment, winning ten games and returning to the playoffs for the second time in three years, ending the season the season on a four-game winning streak.  After a midseason slump, head coach Jim Fassel stripped offensive coordinator Sean Payton of playcalling duties, and the Giants went on to a winning streak that would carry them to the playoffs. Leading 35–14 in the third quarter of the NFC wild card came at San Francisco, Jeremy Shockey dropped a touchdown pass forcing a field goal to make the score 38–14. Fassel decided to rest starting running back Tiki Barber to save him for the next round, but the 49ers gained momentum, and the Giants would not score again, losing the game 39–38. Following the season, Payton was not retained; he would later go on to win the Super Bowl seven years later as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints.