Heredity: It’s probably the one thing we as humans cannot escape. If your parents have blue eyes, there is a good chance you are going to have blue eyes. If your parents have brown hair, there’s a reasonably good shot you will, too. If your family are fans of a certain sports team, it means that you will most likely be a fan of the same team.
My family happens to be die-hard fans of the New York Giants, and because of them, I am a fan as well.
The New York Giants run in my blood. From the day I was born, I was automatically a Giants fan. As fate would have it, the year I was born, the Giants won their very first Super Bowl title.
Exactly three months and 20 days before the day I was born, the Giants won Super Bowl XXI over the Denver Broncos.
Four years later, the G-Men captured their second championship, beating the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Again, I was still a little too young to understand what was happening. All I can remember is my family being overjoyed at a football game on a cold January night.
During my early childhood, I was not really much into football. I was always too small to play the game, and baseball was really my sport of choice. But my dad would sit me down during the football season and explain the rules to me.
“You see, if they score, they get six points. Then they kick the ball through those poles to add one more point, so every score really counts for seven,” he would instruct.
I was still a little bit confused, but I wanted to learn the rules, so I paid attention as best as I could.
My dad would also teach me some of the history of the Giants. I was enthralled when I learned that the Giants used to play their home games in Yankee Stadium, and I thought it was intriguing that they participated in what is known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played."
Back in the 1950s, there was no such thing as the Super Bowl. There was only the National Football League Championship Game. On Dec. 28, 1958, the Giants and the Baltimore Colts played a game that is still looked at as one of the best football games ever contested.
It was only the 26th time a title game was played. It was a nationally televised game as it was broadcast on NBC, and this particular game marked the NFL’s rise in popularity. But the story of what happened in the game was more important than all that.
The game see-sawed dramatically, but with the score knotted at 17 points each after four quarters, the Giants and Colts were forced to go into overtime.
There was no precedent; it was the first time a game went into overtime. Both teams could not walk off the field with the trophy. There could be only one winner, and it was the Colts.
Running back Alan Ameche put the G-Men away with a one-yard touchdown run to end the game, and give the win to Baltimore. Although my team did not win, it was still touching to learn of some history of the Giants from my dad.
The present-day Giants, however, went through a drought, not making a Super Bowl appearance until the year 2000.
Now, the Yankees were on a bit of a tear in the late 1990s, winning their last three World Series. But I was ready to see a football title. Unfortunately, the Giants were not.
We played the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. It was not a good night to be a Giants fan, as the men from New York were blown away, 34-7. I remember my whole family being disgusted at the game, and so was I. Despite the score and the huge loss, we still remained Giants fans.
Not giving up on your team when they are down is part of being a fan, and on that night, I learned it.
Moving forward, I found the Giants not winning much in the next few years. I wanted them to win so badly on Jan. 5, 2003. The G-Men were obliterating the San Francisco 49ers, 38-14. But somehow they choked, giving up the lead and the game, blowing it by a score of 39-38.
This was probably the most upsetting loss I have ever witnessed as a fan of the Giants. I remember wearing my Jeremy Shockey jersey during this game, and screaming at the television.
I couldn’t help but be overridden with emotion: “How could we blow a 24 point lead? How?”
Soon enough, the Giants rebuilt, receiving Eli Manning in a draft day trade in 2004. I remember getting the text message from my cousin when it happened.
“The Giants got Eli Manning! Peyton Manning’s little bro.”
I knew Peyton Manning was a solid QB, so I thought his younger brother would be a tremendous asset to the team.
Manning was great, but again the Giants choked in 2005. When they lost to the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs, I was not a happy fan. Again, I had to stick with them despite the bitter loss, and remain confident in their capability.
I can remember thinking after the postseason loss to Carolina, “Eli was not good today, but overall for the season he was not terrible. He and his team reached double-digits in wins. Give him some time, and he could be wearing a ring.”
2006 came, and the Giants impressed me over the first half of the season. They went 6-2 over their first eight games, but fell off after that. They wound up going 8-8 for the year and were booted out of the playoffs by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round.
The fact that they even made the playoffs in ’06 came as a shock to me. They certainly did not deserve it for how they played in the second half, but I had a funny feeling after 2006.
Then came 2007.
The Giants shocked the world and won Super Bowl XLII in ’07, beating the heavily favored Patriots, as everyone knows. It was this team that launched me from being a fan of the Giants to a mark for the Giants.
The G-Men wanted it more, and I couldn't have been happier.
It is safe to say I have been a fan of the Giants my whole life. They won the Super Bowl just months before I was born. They won it again as I learned what football was. The Giants taught me how to deal with loss and still stand by your team. And then they made me a huge fan, giving me the thrill of a lifetime by upsetting the Patriots.
No matter how it happened, I am a Giants fan. For life, now.