Examining the history of a legendary NFL team
As the intro to “Hells Bells” by AC/DC rings throughout MetLife Stadium, you know it’s game time. If you also know how many New York Giants players are in the hall of fame, who the real LT is or what the heck Rooney Mara has to do with the team, you might have succombed to New York Giants super sports fandom.
The year is 1925 and Tim Mara has just bought the New York Football Giants for a mere $500. Little did he know that this would become a family business. In only its third year of existence, the team went 11-1-1 and ended the season by winning the championship. This transformed the Giants into one of the major football franchises and attracted fans from all over the country.
Exceptional gameplay on the field led to the craze of the team’s fanbase in the stands.
Lead Giants beat writer for SportsNet New York, John Fennelly, has been a fan since the age of 6. After attending his first game at Yankee Stadium on Oct. 8, 1967, he became loyal to the team and has never stopped, he said.
Eric Kennedy, founder and owner of the Big Blue Interactive, said he started passionately following the Giants in September 1984. The Big Blue Interactive is a site that focuses on the latest news and team coverage of the New York Giants. Fans can post questions, statistics and stories, as well as respond to other posts. The site also offers statistics, history, and a roster of the team.
Both said the Giants’ best season was in 1986.
“They were the best team in the NFL that season and to see them hoist the Lombardi Trophy was exhilarating and cathartic at the same time,” Fennelly said.
In contrast, many consider the lowest low of the franchise “The Fumble.” On Nov. 19, 1978, the Giants lost a game to their greatest competitor, the Philadelphia Eagles, in the last 31 seconds of the game. The Giants field positioning was third-and-2 when Herman Edwards of the Eagles recovered the ball for a game-winning 26-yard touchdown.
This event cost the Giants a playoff spot that year, as well as an offensive coordinator.
“That season was the straw that broke the camel’s back for Giants fans,” Fennelly said. “They turned their back on the team, staying away from the game and even burning tickets from outside the stadium.”
Unlike many others, Fennelly never lost hope in his team.
“I will never stop supporting the team,” he said.
The fans’ revolts led to the hiring of General Manager George Young, who would lead the team to three Super Bowl wins.
However the revolt is not the only thing Giants fans have done in order to support their team.
Fennelly flew to Pasadena, California, to watch the Giants play in Super Bowl XXI on Jan. 25, 1987, without any tickets, he said. He was able to get into the game and watch the team win its first ever Super Bowl over the Denver Broncos.
Since then, the Giants have had their share of ups and downs. While the 1990s were full of inconsistent play, they returned to prominence in 2001 when they reached Super Bowl XXXV, but lost to the Baltimore Ravens.
As of Dec. 6, 2014, the Giants are 3-9. Although this season has led to a lot of TV-yelling and vulgarity, fans have kept their devotion to their team.
“They will always be a class operation no matter what the result on the field is,” Fennelly said.
Through posts on The Big Blue Interactive forum, fans frequently share stories that show just how loyal they are.
“At a game about 20 years ago against the Chargers, I chucked a bunch of snowballs on the field. It was awesome!” a fan with the username taggart said.
Another fan, GiantSteps, said he got a tattoo of current New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning, holding a banana on his chest.
Not only are some Giants fans rowdy, some are also superstitious.
“The craziest thing I used to do is not watch field goals because I didn’t want to jinx the team,” Kennedy said.
“Fellow fan site members used to laugh at first about this during get-togethers at sports bars, but they soon
encouraged me to keep up with the practice.”
Over the years, true Giants fans have experienced all of the highs and lows of the franchise as though they are an actual part of the team.
They could also tell you the real LT is Lawrence Taylor, a hall of fame inductee and former Giants linebacker, as well as Fennelly’s favorite player, and actress Rooney Mara is the great-granddaughter of the team’s founder.
Maddison Murnane is a freshman journalism major whose professional attire includes jersey and face paint. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.