Poor showing against Titans Leaves sour taste in Giants’ fans mouths
By Dr. Bill Chachkes-Managing Partner/Executive Editor-Football Reporters Online
It was reminiscent of many trips back from the Meadowlands I remembered as a Teenager in the late 1970’s when my father was still with us. Back then we would wait for the busses outside of Gate D. Now we stand, however painfully, and wait for the train. We had all just watched the Titans throttle the NY Giants, if only on the scoreboard. I wanted to get some fan reaction. Two ladies behind me were in their jerseys and had polish under their eyes. It, and their make-up, was already running.
“Nooo…it was not a very good game” one told profootballnyc.com’s John Fennelly and I.” On seeing our press passes around our necks, another said. “No, this isn’t what I paid for, but I understand that anybody can have a bad day. At least they had more emotion then last week, but maybe too much,” said another. Two young men in front of me recognized my Military lapel pins and told me “we’re in the U.S. Air Force sir. I’m a Medic and He’s a Fireman. We are home on leave, and our Girlfriends’ got us the tickets for today. This was supposed to be the highlight of our trip home from our duty station in Japan.”
A young father with his two boys aged 5 and 8 had brought his children to their first Giants game. “I had hoped they would see a win today, that it would be something they’d carry with them for life. Maybe next time.”
More spoke up as we boarded the train, but no one spoke of 1978 and the plane with the banner that said 15 Years…., or of burning tickets in protest. A day I remember well. As well as the Giants 1986 NFC title game victory over the Washington Redskins by the score of 17-0. Most fans that remember that success, or the 1990 NFC title game against the Vikings, might feel very far away and detached from those teams and times. My Dad would simply say “Peaks and Valley’s, just like life kid, so get used to it.”
I felt for them all today, each and every one of them on line with us at the railhead, at the transfer in Secaucus, and getting off the train in Penn Station. I lived it from 1965 in Yankee Stadium as a 5 year old going to my first game by taking the third avenue “El” from Gun Hill Road , as a young teen going to the Yale Bowl and Shea Stadium, and in the early days of Giants Stadium. I knew the feeling of discomfort and dread these fans were feeling after a loss. I also knew the Emotional “high” of winning. From 1984 through 1990 the NY Giants were the team with the highest winning percentage in professional football. I sat in section 311 for most of those years with my Dad, until his passing in 1987, and with other friends and family after that until I went to the “professional’ side of all things football. I know exactly how he would have described this game’s outcome, in his no nonsense way akin to many professional veteran law enforcers/ex-soldiers like himself. “Plenty of emotion all right, but no focus for it to go to. On the football field it just gets you a loss, but on the battlefield it gets you shot up dead.” I remember going to California with Him for Super Bowl 21. I remember him telling me on the flight home afterwards” now I can Die in peace. Eleven months later we would bury him in His Army Dress Uniform with two tickets to the next game in his pocket, and his cherished 1962 NFL eastern division title football with it’s 12 autographs.
My Dad was also our local Housing development’s “official-unofficial football coach and expert all things Pigskin.” He would have spoken very little on this ride home if he where still with us today. But he would have quickly penned another of his famous letters to Mr. George Young, NY Giants General Manager at that time. Letters that always seemed to gain a hand-written reply by mail, because that was Mr. Young’s style.
He would calmly begin “Mr. Young, Penalties, turnovers, sloppy play, this doesn’t win ball games. I don’t teach it to my son and his teammates and your coaches shouldn’t either” I’m also sure Mr. Young, Mr. Accorsi, or Mr. Reese would all reply in a very similar manner: “ It was a bad day, but it was one bad day.” So tomorrow we move on.