Sports

Time for Giants to give their returning fans reason to believe in them

An old familiar roar comes back on Sunday, a welcome, thunderous roar that once accompanied Lawrence Taylor every time he cut a swath of destruction to get to the quarterback over at Giants Stadium. When the roar moved over to MetLife Stadium, it fueled and nourished Michael Strahan when he was sacking quarterbacks and leading believers, and most recently Eli Manning, when he was defining clutch in the fourth quarter.

There was no roar last season, the sounds of pandemic silence were deafening, but on 9/12, 20 years and a day after 9/11, it will look and sound the way Opening Day is supposed to look and sound when the Joe Judge Giants charge the into the steamy embrace of loyal fans who span generations and have longed passionately to resume a forever white-hot love affair with their beloved Big Blue.

For the better part of four years, the roar too often became a whimper, or worse, and now it is time for the 2021 Giants to restore the roar, from the first quarter to the last, from the first game to the last.

The mission is the same, for Judge, for Daniel Jones, for Saquon Barkley, for every one of them:

Make New York proud again, and wouldn’t this be a splendid day, 20 years and a day after 9/11, to start doing it, against the Broncos.

Make these Giants fans believe in the Giants again.

Show them how much you missed them, because when they are reunited with you, you will see and you will hear how much they missed you.

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Giants fans are back in attendance after missing all of 2020 because of the pandemic.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Hearts will be heavier than usual, and just because you are one of New York’s teams does not mean you should feel you owe the city any inspirational triumph 20 years and a day after 9/11. The football can bounce funny on any given Sunday, and the football gods guarantee nothing.

But what a nice memory it would be for the faithful who haven’t been able to share the stadium with their Giants for a meaningful game since Dec. 29, 2019, when the Eagles secured the NFC East crown, 34-17, and then-coach Pat Shurmur said afterward: “We’re not a good enough team yet to win those close games, but someday we will be.”

Shurmur will be on the visiting sideline on Sunday, coordinating Vic Fangio’s offense for Teddy Bridgewater, perhaps stealing a glance at Jones, the quarterback he helped groom from a pup.

This will be Jones’ first home opener as starting quarterback, because he was Manning’s backup for the second and last time when the Bills beat the Giants, 28-14 on Sept. 15, 2019 and because MetLifeless Stadium watched Steelers 26, Giants 16 all by its lonesome on an empty, eerie Monday night last Sept. 14.

It is time for Judge and Jones, in their second season together, to win those close games that Bill Parcells and Phil Simms won, that Tom Coughlin and Manning won, with a team that ownership and management believes is good enough to have as much of a puncher’s chance as anyone else in a wide-open division. A smart, tough, fundamentally sound, well-conditioned, disciplined team that doesn’t beat itself.

It is time for the Giants to give Giants fans a season.

It is time for them to give Giants fans a winner.

And no one wants to give Giants fans a season and a winner more than John Mara, a Giants fan since birth, son of Wellington, Hall of Fame Giants owner.

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Giants fans will be heard again during Week 1 on Sunday.
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“Because they’re the most loyal fans in the world, they have stayed with us through generations, through good seasons and bad,” Mara told The Post, “and their loyalty has never wavered.”

There are no excuses for Jones in his third season, and second with offensive coordinator Jason Garrett following an offseason in which the brass bought him wide receiver Kenny Golladay and tight end Kyle Rudolph and drafted receiver Kadarius Toney in the first round. And if Barkley can make it most of the way back from his surgically repaired knee, Jones must get his team into the end zone, finally, and win games.

Giants fans terrified of their offensive line will be tempted to close their eyes whenever Jones drops back to pass, so the idea will be for him to get the ball out with quicker decisions to receivers able to win more quickly on their routes. And to welcome Barkley back as a security blanket, and more.

L.T. could suit up again in his old No. 56 and automatically be Big Blue’s best pass rusher, but this is Year 2 under defensive coordinator Patrick Graham, who should keep the games close enough for Jones to win it in the fourth quarter, if he can.

The virus hasn’t gone away. But Giants fans don’t have to stay away any longer. It’s been too long.

“Last year was just too bizarre, and it just didn’t feel the same going to the games,” Mara said, “so it’ll be great to have them back in the building.”

And now that they’re back, on a day dripping with emotion, honoring first responders and the NYPD, FDNY, Port Authority Police Department and families who have lost loved ones, they deserve to have their team come back. As Giants again.

nypost.com

New York Post

The New York Post is a daily tabloid newspaper in New York City. The Post also operates NYPost.com, the celebrity gossip site PageSix.com and the entertainment site Decider.com.

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