When Michael Strahan was introduced prior to kickoff of the 2014 Hall of Fame Game, he was almost immediately surrounded by every single player on the New York Giants roster. It was a surprise move concocted by head coach Tom Coughlin to honor the new Hall of Fame inductee and a reminder that Big Blue will, forever, love and appreciate his 15 years.
And admit, you got goosebumps. Of course you did. We all did. And then you got shivers up and down your spine as the entire group surrounded him at midfield, jumping up and down, "stomping" their opponents out.
Keep in mind, only three of those guys were ever Strahan's actual teammates. But the way they reacted, the way they followed his lead… It was a true testament to the man and the player. Michael Strahan is a true leader, and no matter how famous he becomes for his media dominance, he will always be known as No. 92, the captain, to those boys in blue.
"We were so proud of Michael Strahan, so excited to come out here and be a part of this ceremony. To be there last night was really a tremendous thing because here’s a guy that waits until 11 o’clock to speak and yet still is really terrific with a mic in his hand. I just couldn’t be prouder of him, the things that he’s accomplished both on the football field and post-football," head coach Tom Coughlin said after the game. "We gave him a little, we tried to surprise him tonight. I told the players, ‘When he walks out there we’ll run out there and just give him a pat on the back and then get back in line so we don’t get fined or taken out of here.’ It’s been a really good experience."
What was supposed to be a tribute to Strahan quickly evolved into something a little more. The looks on the players' faces, the adrenaline coursing through them as they "stomped them out" was somewhat unexpected, although it really shouldn't have been. As players did during his 15-years with the Giants, they were quick to rally around someone who amounts to an eternal leader. It was truly a special moment in New York Giants history.
"To see him out today and have him break down the team one last time and give us his traditional move with the stomp, that was fun. I know a lot of guys haven’t gotten the opportunity to witness that. Only me and DeOssie and Mathias are the only guys on this team that had ever seen that in person," quarterback Eli Manning said. "I’m glad he got to do it one last time and also to let some of these new teammates get to hear him talk and do his thing."
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Tags: Eli Manning, Football, Michael Strahan, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin