Sunday, February 5, 2012


As I get ready to hunker down in front of my television set to watch the SuperBowl tonight,it will be only the fifth one that will really matter to me from a pure rooting interest. Why,you may ask?…Simple… The New York Football Giants are playing. MY Giants, the team I have had an emotional relationship with since I was seven years-old.

My brother-in-law, Frank, 17 years my senior, went to all the games when I was a kid and is responsible for addicting me to “Big Blue.” He would bring me the game programs and would spend time talking to me about that afternoon’s contest. I would read the program cover-to-cover and memorize the roster and the player’s numbers, which I can still recall today, Webster, #29… Gifford, # 16….Conerly,#42….Huff,# 70….well, you get the picture.

I remember sitting next to the radio listening to Marty Glickman (home games were blacked out in those days) describe the action, in his exciting and colorful style. I visualized Alex Webster “twisting into the line for 2, 3, 4 yards…” as he would say or a “….high, spiraling kick,” booming from the leg of the Giants punter, Don Chandler.

I would often squirm in my seat, talking to the radio, urging the team to stop its opponent on a third and one, or prompting a Giants’ runner to… “go, go go,” as Glickman painted the picture of him bursting past the line of scrimmage and into the open field.

On October 27, 1957, Frank took me to my first game at Yankee Stadium and, if I was not already hooked, that day fully seduced me to a life-long love affair with The “G-Men.”

I remember that the game was against the Washington Redskins, a team the defending champion Giants were supposed to beat, but did not. I recall that Charlie Conerly was the QB for the Giants and Eddie LeBaron was the QB for the Redskins.

Thanks to my memories were confirmed. The Giants lost to the Redskins 31-14. They committed five turnovers and QB Charlie Conerly was intercepted three times. What the website reminded me of was that the Giants’ offensive coordinator that day was Vince Lombardi and the defensive coordinator was Tom Landry, both of whom went on to become two of the most successful coaches in the history of the NFL, though not with the Giants.

What I remember most vividly about that day was coming out of the portal that led to the bleachers of Yankee Stadium in the far end zone, -- where I would end up watching countless more games from with a school G.O. card and later as a season ticket holder which I became at the age of 17, -- and seeing the grid laid out on the bright green stadium grass, the horizontal white chalk lines, drawn perfectly from each of the sidelines every five yards with large chalk numerals identifying the positions on the field, and smaller chalk lines indented within the five-yard markers.

As the game drew closer I recall looking to the far end of the field directly opposite from where we were sitting and seeing a cluster of blue figures, with glistening blue helmets, ascending from the steps of what was the Yankee dugout during the baseball season. It was the home team getting ready to come out onto the field. As they did, the crowd noise began to build to a deafening welcome for the home team. A bellowing cheer of goooooo……giiiiiiiiiants….reverberated around the stadium. It is a cheer that my buddies and I still echo in the parking lot prior to each home game.

Moments earlier, a herd of white jerseys with gold pants and scarlet helmets had trotted across the tundra from the visitor’s dugout and assumed their positions on the far sideline.

The ball was kicked off, a brown sphere tumbling end-over-end towards the goal line, climbing -- it seemed to this nine-year old boy---higher than the famous Yankee Stadium façade. The game was officially under way, and so was my life-long romance with the New York Football Giants.

It has been a romance sprinkled with disappointment, despair, adulation, love, hate, defeat, triumph and any other emotion you can imagine. I have seen the Giants go from the glory years of the late 50’s and early 60’s,--when they were in the championship game almost every year -- to the depths the late 60’s and 70’s-- when they were often among the worst teams in the game, -- to the 80’s when they began to rise again--- and finally captured a SuperBowl title-- by winning SuperBowl XXI, in Pasadena 39-20 over John Elway and the Denver Broncos, a game I was fortunate enough to attend.

For the most part, the Giants have been more than competitive in the last 25 years, appearing in three more Super Bowls winning two of them, including that memorable upset in 2007, when they toppled today’s opponent the New England Patriots, ending their bid for an unbeaten season.

I have seen or listened to virtually every Giants game since that day in 1957,more than 300 of them in person. I still attend every Giants home game and have introduced two more generations of my family to Big-Blue just as my brother-law introduced me.

As I kill time waiting for today’s kick-off I am hopeful that I will witness my boys grab another SuperBowl title, but win or lose, I am thankful for that day in 1957 when “Big Blue” became part of me for life. GO GIANTS!!!

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home