I was born a New York Giants fan. Ask me anything. When were they formed? August 1925 when Tim Mara paid $500 to have a professional football team in New York City. Mara actually went to the meeting that day at the football commissioner’s office to invest in a prizefighter. How many Super Bowls have they won? Three, so far: 1986, 1990, and 2007. Famous former players? Frank Gifford, Tom Landry, Harry Carson, Phil Simms, and Lawrence Taylor to name a few. The Giants are the NFL team with the second highest number of Hall of Famers. Let's not forget about the equally famous coaches and assistants. The Tuna (Bill Parcells), Bill Belichick, Dan Reeves, and the league’s current oldest coach, Tom Coughlin. Why don’t they have any cheerleaders? That's because Mrs. Mara forbade it.
I was destined to be a Giants fan when my Dad proposed to my Mom. He slid a napkin across the table to her in a fancy restaurant in Germany. It asked her to marry him and had a handwritten pre-nup agreement on the backside. She would have to stop being a Boston sports fan and become a New York sports fan. She had to agree to leave my father alone on Sundays from August to February and agree to purchase Direct TV if they lived in a place where Giants games were blocked out. Naturally, the kids would be raised Giants fans. That’s the New York Football Giants, not to be confused with the baseball team of the same name. She readily agreed. She was one of those fair-weather Boston fans. To pick love over a sports team is unconscionable, but she did it.
Some may say my dad is a fanatic. My father is the only adult I know who owned a Jeremy Shockey jersey, who lives to read what the knucklehead fans (usually my brother and me) are posting on Big Blue, and who truly believes every season that this Giants team will go down as the best in NFL history. He’s the kind of dad who would throw in words like “Osi Umenyiora” when quizzing my sister on her third grade spelling words. He really thought she should know how to spell his name. Osi was, after all, a Giants Pro Bowler. He watches the NFL draft as if his life depends on it and he believed Eli Manning was an elite quarterback before Eli did. My brother and I have not only embraced his legacy but built on it. We watch every game, dissect every play, haven’t met an Eagles, Redskins, or Cowboys fan worth listening to, and we bleed Giants blue. But this road has been very, very rocky. We learned as children about the “Greatest Game Ever Played” where the Colts robbed us of victory in the waning seconds of the game and beat us in overtime. We recoil at the story of Herman Edwards' touchdown after “The Fumble.” That’s just part of being a Giants fan. You get very well acquainted with the agony of defeat, but not this post-season. The Giants are healthy, Eli is playing out of his mind, and Tom Coughlin has them eating out of his hand.
While Sunday’s victory was sweet, one of my greatest memories as a Giants fan was my first visit to the Meadowlands. We were living in NYC and my Dad got us tickets in the nosebleed section for a game in late December. My mother was outraged when she found my brother and me raw-faced and hoarse-voiced after the game. She sent us to bed and proceeded to strongly voice her concerns to my father about his sanity as my brother and I tossed a football back and forth between the top and bottom bunks reliving every moment of the game. We didn’t care that we couldn’t feel our fingers, toes, noses, ears, or cheeks. When you are a Giants fan you are battle tested, you are hard-core, and you don’t care about the elements. Fifteen degrees? No problem. Snow, sleet, driving rain? Bring it on. Eli’s shirt was muddied, his chinstrap was around his mouth, his shoulder pads were hanging out, and his socks were pulled down, yet he still threw for 316 yards cool as a cucumber on Sunday. Six sacks and 20 hits later, Eli and the Giants are headed to the ’Ship. The newspaper Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks held up only minutes after the Giants victory said it best, “Supe’s On!”
The thing that makes me the happiest is knowing that my son will be born a Giants fan. He will know the pain, the disappointment, the euphoria, and the history of the storied New York Football Giants. That is provided the girl I marry signs the napkin I slide across the table to her after I propose.