The New York Giants took the Super Bowl trophy on a parade up the “Canyon of Heroes” in lower Manhattan and received the keys to New York City as part of today’s two-state celebration of their second National Football League championship in five years.
As many as 1 million spectators may have attended the ticker-tape parade hosted by the city, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office. Giants co-owner John Mara called it “an experience none of us will ever forget.”
The team then traveled to MetLife Stadium, its home field in East Rutherford, New Jersey, to mark its 21-17 Super Bowl win against the New England Patriots. The Giants also beat the Patriots to win the Super Bowl following the 2007 season.
“The New York Giants are proud to represent the greatest city in the world and the great state of New Jersey and to bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy to the most loyal fans in all of sports,” Mara told the crowd at City Hall Plaza. “Thank you Giant fans for your unwavering support for so many years. This world championship belongs as much to you as it does to any of us.”
The parade began at 11 a.m. New York time, with a procession of floats and vehicles escorted by flag-bearers, bagpipers, bands, dancers and New York Police Department officers on foot and horseback.
Manning Holds Trophy
Quarterback Eli Manning, the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, hoisted the Lombardi championship trophy while riding on a float with defensive lineman Justin Tuck, General Manager Jerry Reese, coach Tom Coughlin, Governor Andrew Cuomo, Bloomberg and members of the Tisch and Mara families, co-owners of the Giants.
“The message that’s been talked about today is ‘Finish,’” Manning said in New York. “Finish games, finish the fourth quarter and finish the season strong. That’s exactly what we did -- a team that had eight fourth-quarter wins, including one in the Super Bowl.”
As confetti rained down, the parade crept up the mile-long Canyon of Heroes, where Charles Lindbergh, Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Apollo moon astronauts were feted in years past, as were the New York Yankees’ World Series champions. The Giants also celebrated their previous title in the Canyon of Heroes five seasons ago, when 36 1/2 tons of confetti showered down from windows in buildings along the route.
Giants players and coaches waved to the crowd from slow-moving flatbed trailers and open-roof buses, with players such as wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and linemen David Diehl and Osi Umenyiora holding video cameras or camera phones to capture the event. Punter Steve Weatherford grabbed a drum from one of the band members and started marching with it while wearing his Giants helmet. Other players caught footballs and T-shirts from the crowd to sign and throw back.
Parade-goers gathered this morning in lower Manhattan near and on Broadway, funneling through metal police barricades and packing the sidewalks to catch a glimpse of the parade on a sunny, 46-degree Fahrenheit (8 Celsius) day.
The gathering on Wall Street near the New York Stock Exchange was reminiscent of the months-long presence during the Occupy protests last year. Street vendors lined nearly every block, hawking items such as Giants pennants and noisemakers, $10 T-shirts and $15 hats.
George Alvarado, 45, and his 10-year-old son Nick took the Long Island Rail Road from Smithtown, New York, for the parade. Both wore No. 80 Victor Cruz jerseys, Nick’s favorite player.
“I’m pretty excited -- I was too young to come in 2007 so I wanted to come this year and maybe catch a glimpse of the players,” Nick said. “I think it’d be more cool to see the Giants than to miss school, but it’s cool to miss school, too.”
At City Hall Plaza, Bloomberg presented the Giants with ceremonial keys to the city. Bloomberg said the parade may bring as much as $19 million to $38 million to the city’s economy, with between 500,000 and 1 million spectators expected, about one-third of them from outside New York City.
Lisa Wheeler and her husband, Stephen, drove seven hours yesterday from their home in Chesapeake, Virginia, to bring their sons, 9-year-old Austin and 6-year-old Ryan, to both the parade in New York and the celebration at MetLife Stadium. The couple is keeping a promise they made to their young Giants fans early in a playoff run during which the team upset the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers on the road before knocking off the favored Patriots.
“We’ve learned to be careful what you promise because they will hold you to it,” said Lisa Wheeler, 38. “They are thrilled. When we asked the boys to rate the parade on a scale of 1 to 10, they both gave it a 20.”
After the parade, the Giants boarded buses and returned to New Jersey to celebrate at their home stadium. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was among those honoring the team, which scored the final 12 points in the Super Bowl two days ago to rally from a 17-9 deficit.
Ahmad Bradshaw scored the winning touchdown with 57 seconds left, giving the Giants their fourth Super Bowl title. The Giants, who had a 7-7 record in December, won their final six games, including four straight in the postseason, to become the first Super Bowl champion with seven losses.
In holding a rally in New Jersey, Christie kept a promise to Adam Bernstein, a 10-year-old from Bridgewater who asked the governor at a Jan. 24 town hall meeting where the celebration would be held if the Giants won. Christie assured Bernstein there would be a celebration in New Jersey, since that’s where the Giants train and play and many of them live.
Christie was greeted by a loud ovation and fans doing the wave when he arrived in the 82,500-seat stadium, which was more than 1/3 full.
Fans, many of them wearing Giants jerseys, began arriving at about 1 p.m., among them Vicki Conklin of Pequannock, New Jersey, who took her son Tommy, 11, out of fifth grade for the day to attend the event. Both Vicki and Tommy, who said he plays quarterback for the Pequannock Boys Club football team, wore No. 10 Manning jerseys.
“I came here four years ago without him and I knew I wanted him to experience this,” Vicki Conklin, 47, said in an interview in the stadium parking lot. “It’s pure jubilation.”