If all it cost for a victory in the NFL was the price of two plane tickets from Germany, the Giants need to enroll Markus Kuhn's family in a frequent flyer program.
Weeks in advance, Sylvia and Nina, the rookie defensive tackle's mother and sister, booked their flights to New York to watch Markus take on the Cleveland Browns. The timing was perfect. Not only was Kuhn making his first start, but he also knew his two good luck charms would come through. Even when the Giants fell behind 14-0.
"Since I came to the U.S., since freshman year [of college], whenever they came over and visited me for a game, we never lost," said Kuhn, unaware he would be starting when they planned the trip. "Even if we should have lost and we were down a lot, it was always a W at the end."
The streak continued.
Kuhn notched a pair of tackles and batted down two passes, and the Giants changed course, coming out with a 41-27 victory. It wasn't all because of superstition, though.
"I actually told Kiwi [Mathias Kiwanuka] yesterday it's really great to be a part of a team like this where when you're down 14 points, it's not really anybody seems to worry. You're like, OK, we know what we have to do, just keep calm, and keep playing the way we're playing. I bet there a lot of teams out there down 14-zero and they pretty much fold and just pack it up and say 'OK, I guess we lost that one.' But everybody keeps playing [here]. That's how you come back and win."
With Rocky Bernard out and Chris Canty on the PUP list, the seventh round draft pick played nearly 30 snaps in his fifth NFL game.
"I was excited, but I also knew since you have some great players out right now, I have to step up," Kuhn said. "And the other team doesn't feel sorry for me – say, 'Oh, he's from Germany, he doesn't know better, he's a rookie.' You have to go out there and perform."
Canty and Bernard were there to make sure he did so at a high level. And even walking into the locker room for Monday's media availability, Canty was giving Kuhn a few pointers coming out of their meetings.
"I was just talking to Chris, sometimes I try to peak a little bit too much and see where the ball is going instead of staying in my gaps, staying lower, improve my pad level," Kuhn said. "So there are definitely things I have to work on.
"I told him and Rocky before the game and I tell them in practice, I say, 'Guys, if you see anything which I'm doing wrong, immediately let me know.' That's why when I come on the sideline they're coaching me up and that's the great thing. If you have great veteran players and leaders on this team, they help you out."