They had bags on their heads that said “Fire Joe Judge” and “Fire Everyone”. They shouted at co-owner John Mara that his nepotism-littered franchise needs “footballers, not family!” At least one fan donned a clown costume. Those who wanted to watch the Giants’ season finale in person at MetLife Stadium on Sunday – and believe it or not, there were several thousand – could have bought a ticket for around six dollars near kick-off.
Traffic, generally turned back to the Turnpike exit, was light. The parking lots, normally filled with hours until kick-off, were sterile. With plenty of close parking for the 22-7 loss to Washington, the walk from the field was shorter than GM Dave Gettleman’s.
OPEN THE DAVE GETTLEMAN / JOHN MARA PRE-GAME GALLERY HERE
OPEN THE WASHINGTON-GIANTS GAME GALLERY HERE
After a year of horrific football, embarrassing post-game rants and an embarrassing fan promotion that made the once-proud franchise a league-wide laughing stock, a few thousand fans who braved the elements were ready. to put up with a terrible football Sunday in person. – one more pitiful loss in a 4-13 season.
Looks like there are some fans out there who just can’t leave the Giants.
“They are a [bleeping] disorder. They are hopeless, ”said Pat Daddino, a 75-year-old Westchester County native. “But coming to the Giants isn’t just the game, it comes with everyone. Misery loves company. It’s like you have a family and you have a child who is (angry) but you still love him and take care of him.
With Judge rambling over the past few weeks on the culture and effort of his players, the Giants amassed a TD and 177 yards of offense on Sunday, 83 passing yards – against another team with nothing to play. The Giants ran a quarterback on a third and nine from their 4-yard line.
Meanwhile, some fans refused to boycott. They wanted to deliver the message in person.
Gettleman, who spent the pre-game hugging and saying goodbye on the pitch, “has to go! Said Vinnie D’Antonio, 59. Her 65-year-old boyfriend Antonio Esposito replied: “His choices over the past few years have killed us.”
Longtime North Jersey pals – D’Antonio is from Totowa, Esposito from West Orange – don’t agree on everything. They’re split on Judge, following the trend of those interviewed for this story.
D’Antonio thinks the judge should get another year; Gettleman’s injuries and poor team spirit tied the judge’s hands, he said. He’s not a fan of his recent post-game speeches (“Looks like he’s a little worried about his job”), but he’s ready to look beyond.
Esposito thinks Judge should pack his bags and join the group of coaches who get fired on Black Monday: “He’s a lame coach,” he said. “They have to clean the house from top to bottom.”
In a dream scenario for many Giants, that would include Mara, who is taking more and more heat for the disastrous decade his team have seen since winning the last Super Bowl in 2011. Fans are resigned to the fact that he isn’t going anywhere, but some would like him to hand over the football decision-making to someone else.
“It’s the owner. What are you going to do? You can’t ask the guy to sell the team. It’s his team! said d’Antonio. “He just has to clean it. It’s in bad shape right now, as bad as I’ve seen it.
Before the game, the Giants were fourth in the NFL on average with 74,448 spectators per game, behind Dallas, Green Bay and Denver. But that number represents tickets sold, not fannies in the seats – and, as this last lost season wore on, fewer fans bothered to show up.
For the record, veteran Giants reporters couldn’t recall such an uncrowded game since MetLife Stadium opened in 2010. It may even have rivaled what are believed to be the smallest crowd. for an unplayed Giants game with replacement players at the old Giants Stadium – a December 4, 1983 game against the St. Louis Cardinals that attracted only 25,156 fans.
The Giants are strangely on the same track as their opponent on Sunday. The Washington football team, once an NFL powerhouse that would fill each of FedExField’s 90,000 seats, is a league-wide laughing stock with a stadium half-empty every two weeks. In 2021, the WFT occupied the penultimate place in average household attendance.
There will always be lots of people in the stands as long as diehard fans like Esposito, Daddino and D’Antonio continue to show up. They were among the few thousand in the stands on Sunday and they’ll probably be back next year too. But they hope the empty grandstands and sterile parking lots will serve as a wake-up call.
“I just hope when he sits in his box and sees how empty his stadium is, he wakes up,” Esposito said.
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Brian Fonseca can be reached at [email protected].