For Giants fans, this year’s Super Bowl is utopia. (Pats fans too. But this post is about the local New York New Jersey squad.)
Yet unless you’re a Tisch or a Mara, chances are your connection with your favorite team is a bit removed.
You’ll watch the big game on a big screen in your big, climate-controlled entertainment center.
You might wear NFL-branded logowear, bought at NFL-licensed retailers at NFL-mandated prices.
You may have gone to actual games at the new Xanadu-like stadium, where you paid usurious prices to sit in the stands, or enjoyed the expense account amenities of a corporate suite.
But the chances of actually getting near — let alone saying “Great game!” — to Eli Manning, Osi Umenyiora or even Prince Amukamara are about as good as Tim Tebow dissing God for favoring Tom Brady the other day.
It was not always that way.
Back in the mid-’60s, the Giants — like the rest of the NFL — were far less corporate. Sure, they were bigger than you and me (especially me), but they did actual human-being things.
Like pre-season training at Fairfield University.
That’s right. Every summer from 1961-69, the Giants ran their drills a mile or two up the road. Anyone could wander over and watch, standing almost on the sidelines. You’d mingle with the players and coaches as they walked back to campus, through the woods.
Occasionally you’d see them in town, at restaurants like the Arrow. And local watering holes — the less expensive, the better.
Y.A. Tittle, Frank Gifford, Del Shofner, Sam Huff, Stamford’s own Andy Robustelli — from September through June, they were the “New York Giants.”
But for a few weeks every mid-summer, they were our own.
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