Monday evening in New Jersey was like an all-defensive show. Trees were de-cleated. Waves blitzed the shorelines and more. Wind gusts took out power lines and anything not equivalent to the weight of an entire offensive line (plus the backfield and tight ends). By 4:25pm EST on Sunday, however, MetLife Stadium will be more than ready to go for the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the New York Football Giants game. Game on!
After a devastating week for most in the tri-state area, shifting focus to a 3+ hour football game is more than likely a welcome distraction. Category 1 storm “Sandy” caused severe damage to the state of New Jersey before the actual downgraded hurricane hit the shores on Monday evening. Many are still without power, gas and hot water. This includes some of the Giants’ players, like QB Eli Manning who is also looking at Sunday’s game as a bit of respite from the damage (like getting evacuated from his Hoboken home because of severe flooding).
“I think we've had a couple of days to be with our families and kind of deal with the situation and it's not easy,” said Manning. “Obviously, there's still a lot of issues and no power and the home life is different and has its challenges, but I think once you get into the facility and get here and start working out, it will be a good little break to kind of get away from that and everything feels pretty normal.”
As with any type of distraction for his G-Men, Head Coach Tom Coughlin looks past it.
“We've made some adjustments to try to accommodate in anticipation of some issues that we might have….starting practice late this (Wednesday) afternoon, for example. But I don't think that's going to inhibit anything. We've been hard at it. The coaches have been hard at it. We had pretty much a full day yesterday. I gave a little time for family time and everybody took their laptops with them and we reconvened yesterday. But I don't see any issue that has stopped us from sticking with our normal routine.” He also added a quip about his home never losing power, “I didn't get home much to recognize it.”
Several other Big Blue players have been without power, some temporarily, as most reside in the Garden State.
Worried about this becoming a loss of focus for the World Champions? Don’t be. In December of the 2010 season, the Giants were on schedule for a road trip to Minnesota. Unfortunately, after a major blizzard hit the Great Lakes region and consequently later caused the Metrodome’s roof to collapse onto the inside field, the Giants were forced to sleep a Kansas City airport their flight was diverted. They then had to make their way to a snowy Detroit to play that Sunday game on a Monday night at Ford Field. They blew out Minnesota 21-3 inadvertently eliminating the Vikes from postseason contention. So much for travel hassle and jetlag.
Tom Coughlin also won’t let this team lose motivation.
"We're not denying what's going on. I mean, I think that's foolish," said the Giants’ head coach. "Everyone has been struck by this. Although, I would like very much to make sure that the focus is 100 percent on the task at hand, I think you do have to have a little bit of a mature attitude about these young men, their families and some of the circumstances they might be going through….I'll try to do the best I can with that, but there's no avoiding what's happened here. Quite frankly, we don't want to. That's not our job. We realize this is a part of life. We've been struck by a blow by Mother Nature and we have to deal with it the best way we can."
It’s been reiterated and on repeat like our favorite record with a huge scratch: the Giants fair well and feed off any type of diversity and/or hardship. Again at 6-2 and heading into the second half of the season, here is where that proverbial bridge is really built.
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*Note: Help with the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to go towards the Red Cross Disaster Relief.Eli Manning, Football, MetLife Stadium, New Jersey, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tom Coughlin
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