My best sports week ever continued on Thursday with me heading to the Meadowlands to attend the home opener of my Superbowl champion New York Giants (thanks, Ranjeet).
First of all, I am sooo happy that football is back. And every home opener is special in its own right, filled as it is with the promise of a new season. But the home opener following a championship-winning season? As a fan, nothing can compare to that. It was my first trip to Giants stadium since I saw my Giants stand toe-to-toe with the mighty and undefeated Patriots in the last regular season game of 2007 – a magnificent game that they ended up losing, but which gave them confidence and propelled them on their fairy-tale run all the way to Superbowl XLII to reclaim the Lombardi trophy. Seeing that championship banner hanging outside Giants stadium was just awesome!
We got to the stadium way too early, so we killed time just walking around the stadium, and watching the teams warm up. Around 7, the pre-game ceremony started, a tribute to not just the 2007 Giants, but also the past New York Giant championship winning teams. Video recaps of the 1986 and 1990 seasons accompanied an on-field tribute to some of the members of those Giant teams who were on hand. And then, the video tribute to the 2007 New York Giants started. The loudest cheers rang out for the Eli-to-Tyree play, the TD pass to Plaxico, and the sack of Brady by Jay Alford in the final minute. The crowd was absolutely besides itself with joy, and I tried to capture the roar of the crowd as much as I could in the video below.
At the end of the video, accompanied by fireworks, who steps onto the stage but none other than #92, Michael Strahan, holding aloft the real Lombardi trophy. Boy, did he ever get a huge reception. Everybody loves seeing that Lombardi trophy! He then proceeded to pump up the crowd like only he can. He got the crowd going so much that the cheers of the crowd pretty much drowned out whatever it was that he was saying. And what he was doing was getting us revved up as our beloved Giants ran onto the field. It was amazing. The video below tries to capture the moment.
Then, after Kate Mara sang the Star-Spangled Banner and 3 Black Hawk helicopters did a cool flyby over the stadium, it was time to play some football. The Giants started really well, with Eli showing some moves and rushing for the first TD himself (whodathunk?). Justin Tuck let everyone know that despite all the losses on the defensive unit, it was still going to be a force to reckon with by getting a sack on the first defensive play for the Giants. The Giants dominated the first half, but seemed to lose their rhythm along the way, holding on for the 16-7 win.
But hey, a win is a win, especially against a division rival. The 2008 season is upon us, and the quest for a Superbowl repeat is now underway. As Rajji-B and I talked about it, we realized that no matter how well they do this year, there is no way this Giants team will approach the magic that was the 2007 Superbowl Champion New York Giants.Tags: New York Giants, NFL, Superbowl XLII