After four NFL championships and three Super Bowls, it’s easy to ignore the significance of maintaining a classy organization.
But it’s times like Thursday that truly emphasize the importance of continuity and class within a team’s front office.
Antonio Pierce has plenty of reasons to be bitter. He had spent the last two training camps politely asking for a contract extension. It’s not as if his timing was off, he made these requests coming off a season in which he was an anchor for a Super Bowl winning defense, and one year later, a 12-4 team.
But the Giants never obliged. Pierce was still producing for them, but they felt he was not a long-term solution. For this reason, they never gave him the financial security he pleaded for and now he is currently unemployed.
Pierce has never been one to bite his tongue so it would have surprised few if he had taken a few parting shots at the Giants. But there was nothing. All that took place through the media was a love fest between the Giants and Pierce: a refreshing change of pace from what normally transpires when a player that still believes he has something left gets cut loose.
"I talked to Coach Coughlin, I talked to Jerry Reese, I talked to as many people as I could talk to before leaving the building. I told them I have nothing but love for the Giants and I always will," said Pierce.
Two summers ago, Osi Umenyiora began his own campaign for a new contract. He ultimately gave up due to the knee injury he suffered in pre-season, but said he wasn’t the least bit concerned because he knows “the Giants take care of their players.”
That is a wonderful reputation to acquire in this day and age. The only thing players like more than cash is stability. No one wants to be blind sided by a franchise tag or a surprise cut. Pierce was kept in the loop throughout this process, which is why he was so appreciative of the organization mere hours after he was released. Players don't talk about it, but there's no doubt they appreciate the effort.
The Giants are the top football dog in the biggest media market in the world. They don’t need arrogant coaches that pound their chests over wins against the Buffalo Bills to acquire attention: the recognition comes with the blue uniform. When that much publicity comes one way, it’s important to respond consistently to similar situations.
For 85 years, the Giants have been under the name of two families and have preached the same ideals. Although the PSL fiasco is being met with reasonable anger from long-time Giants fans, it’s hard to ignore the team’s commitment for giving the fans a product they will love to cheer for. The Giants’ on-field success reflects that.
Due to the Giants conscious attempt to represent themselves properly, Thursday was a day of celebration rather than resentment. Instead of Pierce quietly running off into the sunset, both sides were able to gush about each other as they deserved to.
Pierce is no Hall of Famer, but he is an all-time Giant great. It’s good to see that a disagreement over money or years did not change that at any moment in time.