The New York Giants have won three Super Bowls since 1986, but they hadn’t gotten a hero’s welcome in Manhattan until yesterday:
The Giants surprised even their most ardent fans with their Super Bowl victory. On Tuesday, the new N.F.L. champions were the ones left awestruck.
Two days after beating the Patriots, 17-14, the Giants were honored with a rousing, confetti-laced parade up Broadway in Lower Manhattan, stopped for a pep rally at City Hall, and had a homecoming party at Giants Stadium.
“I’ve had so many goose bumps in one week’s time, it feels like they’re normal, like they’re supposed to be there,” Coach Tom Coughlin said.
The Giants played all their postseason games away from home. Tuesday was their chance to officially bring the N.F.L. championship back to New York and New Jersey. During the parade, Coughlin, quarterback Eli Manning and defensive end Michael Strahan shared a float and took turns holding the Vince Lombardi trophy.
Manning, the most valuable player in the Super Bowl, was serenaded often with choruses of “M.V.P.!” Strahan, pondering retirement, was showered with requests for “One more year!”
“It’s very tempting,” he told the crowd at City Hall.
On a cool and damp day, with the tops of skyscrapers dipped into the low clouds, the Giants boarded red, white and blue floats that took them up Broadway, the Canyon of Heroes route that has welcomed everyone from Charles Lindbergh to soldiers to the Yankees and the Rangers — but never a football team.
The Giants won the Super Bowl after the 1986 and the 1990 seasons, too. There was no celebration the first time because Edward I. Koch, the mayor at the time, said that his city would not hold a parade for a team from New Jersey, where the Giants had moved a decade earlier. The second Super Bowl victory came only days after the start of the Gulf War, and a large celebration for a football team was deemed inappropriate.
There were no limitations to this party. Hundreds of thousands of fans, decked in the team’s colors and some with their faces painted, jammed sidewalks from the gutters to the storefronts. At intersections, like the one with Wall Street, the sea of smiling faces could be seen for two blocks or more. Silhouettes filled most of the office windows that could not open, and smiles, waving arms and overturned boxes of shredded paper popped out of the ones that could.
I always thought that Koch was being a bit of a jerk for refusing to allow the Giants a parade in 1987, so it’s nice to see them welcomed home, especially since the prospect of the NFL ever returning to New York City seems pretty dim:
[W]hat is a New York team? And how much is it worth? That question came up when the Jets tried to get in on the Olympic stadium on the West Side of Manhattan that had been proposed for the 2012 Summer Games. Eight home games a season hardly seemed like much of an incentive to build a football-friendly stadium. That project died for a number of valid reasons, and the Jets and the Giants are partners in a stadium now going up in the swamplands across the Hudson River, with parking spaces for tailgating. If New York can turn its back on a football stadium, then New York can also be magnanimous about welcoming the Giants home.