New York Giants: Born and Raised To Root For Big Blue

John SuttonContributor IMay 13, 2009

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 25:  Quarterback Phil Simms #11 of the New York Giants drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl on January 25, 1987 in Pasadena, California. The Giants defeated the Broncos 39-20. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

The first time I ever entered Giants Stadium, the game did not even count. It was on an August night in the early '90s when the Giants took on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game.

The details of the game have escaped my memory since, but the indelible impression has not.

Even before that night in East Rutherford, N.J., with my father, the New York Giants were the team I looked up to and fantasized about playing for when I grew up.

Yes, a seemingly unrealistic fantasy now, but back then the starting job at running back seemed like a foregone conclusion to me.

The biggest influence on my fandom came from my father. He grew up rooting for the Big Blue, and for as long as I can remember, the same would always be true for me.

Icons were aplenty back then. Quarterback Phil Simms was first among them. His precision as a passer and the way in which he led the Giants, not to mention the poster of him hanging in my room, made him my favorite player as a young fan.

The Giants had other stars back then, Rodney Hampton">Rodney Hampton was at running back and Lawrence Taylor was finishing up his career after revolutionizing the linebacker position.

But Simms remained my hero.

The lore that came along with the quarterback position always made each Giants game an event at the Sutton house every Sunday. The wins might not have always been there, but my loyalty to the Giants never waned.

Simms retired early on in my fandom, leaving a hole in my search for a Giant to look up to. Star quarterbacks have always been where I've found my heroes, even after Simms.

Brett Favre eventually took on that role, while players like Dan Brown and Danny Kanell wallowed in mediocrity for my favorite team.

The vacancy was not truly filled until April of 2004, when the Giants traded Philip Rivers for Eli Manning. No longer did the Giants lack a star for this now not-so-young fan to look up to, and that great Giants lore had finally returned to the position.

Manning might not have shined in his first few seasons with Big Blue, but my persistence in support of him paid off in Super Bowl XLII when the Giants defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots 17-14.

Finally, that same quality in a quarterback that drew me to the Giants, along with my father's strong influence, was there again in my greatest moment as a Giants fan.

Manning was named Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl, due in large part to the efforts of David Tyree.

Being a Giants fan has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my life. There has been heartache. There has been triumph. But throughout, it has been fun.

I have changed along with my team throughout my nearly 22 years as a fan, but I now have what initially drew me to my favorite team: a star at football's most important position.