Interview Series

In the Women’s Club Interview Series Blog you can get to know some important women surrounding the New York Giants

Player Profile: Michael Thomas

Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) celebrates catching a touchdown pass as New York Giants defensive back Michael Thomas (31) defends in the first half of a NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

For this Player Profile interview, we heard from Giants safety Michael Thomas, who we learned loves baseball and acting! Check it out below:

What does your game day routine look like? Do you have any game day rituals?

First off, I love 1:00 PM games – waking up and just going straight to playing. I wake up listening to gospel music while I’m getting ready and go eat. I eat the same thing every time; oatmeal, bacon and fruit. As soon as we get to the locker room, I listen to music. I don’t go out and walk the field or anything; just get my uniform ready and go out when it’s time for the team to go out.

What’s your favorite pump up song?

It depends; probably anything Kendrick Lamar or J. Cole. I like to get my mind right and get into a real serious mindset.

Are there any athletes that you admire?

A couple that I played with in college because I know what work they put in to get to such a high level. Guys like Richard Sherman, I love to see him do well. Andrew Luck, to see him fight through those injuries and just guys that I’ve had respect for over the years.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Any advice that my parents have given me, especially my Dad, just seeing him as a man and a father; going to work every day, providing for his family and never complaining.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Yes! My first passion was acting.

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

Probably baseball. That was the first sport I ever played and loved it!

What are your hobbies?

Playing PS4 with my daughter. She loves playing Crash Bandicoot, so we’ll play that for about an hour and a half every night. Also, when I can, I enjoy writing stories and scripts.

Are there any causes that you care about?

Breast cancer awareness and anything dealing with our youth when it comes to education and providing resources for them.

If our Women’s Club was in front of you right now what message would you want to give to them?

Keep making a difference in our community. Your voices are important and everything you are fighting for is important.

Thanks for the interview, Michael! Good luck this season!

Member Moment: Pam O'Donnell

Fall 2019 Pam O'Donnell 2

When we first met cancer survivor Pam O’Donnell, she had been a Women’s Club member for quite some time but had some reservations about attending our events; this is because her husband and daughter, who were also huge Giants fans, had passed away tragically in a car accident and her memories of them linked to the Giants brought her more heartache than she had expected. When she finally had the courage to attend our Training Camp event over the summer, everything changed for her and she hasn’t missed an event since. Pam, we were so honored to interview you for this Member Moment series and are proud to have you as a part of Giants Nation!!!

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

In high school, back in the 80's. I'm 48 now, so it’s been awhile!

Do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?

Face paint is the key! Whether at the stadium or just watching from home, face paint is a must! Whatever I wore the last time they won a game is what I will wear for the next game. I truly believe that we, the fans, are the 12th man on the field!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My all-time favorite New York Giants player is the one and only, Lawrence Taylor, #56. It would be a hard decision for me to decide who is my favorite current player. After meeting some of them at a Women's Club Training Camp event earlier in the pre-season, I can't decide. They truly are good guys on and off the field. Along with my LT jersey, I do own a Zak DeOssie and Dalvin Tomlinson jersey though, if that means anything.

Where do you watch Giants games?

I typically watch from home or a friend’s house. My husband was a bartender before he passed away, and we would watch some of the games there while he worked. Our two girls would go for pizza and watch the game until the hardcore fans would come in to watch football.

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What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

This is the question that makes me emotional. Family; I feel like the team and other fans that we met along the way are extended family, a brotherhood/sisterhood if you will. Both of my two daughters were brought home from the hospital when they were born in 2009 and 2010 and wore the same Giants onesie; in fact, we all wore our Giants gear home from the hospital. I wanted to name our first daughter Eli, yes for Eli Manning. We settled on Ali (close enough right?). Being a fan takes on new meaning for me now because we, as a family of four, have suffered multiple tragedies. Back in 2014, I spent the entire year in the hospital fighting for my life with cancer. I would watch the games from the hospital bed all dressed in my Giants blue, and our supporters helping our family fight this disease would send blue flowers, Giants t-shirts, Giants blankets and Giants headwraps for when I lost my hair. People would come and sit by my hospital bed and watch the game with me or at best, on speakerphone when I was too sick to have visitors. My little one, Bridget, would crawl into my bed when they allowed her there and we would watch together. As a family, before I would go to chemo and/or radiation we would put all our hands in, and Bridget would count 1,2,3 and we would all yell "ALL IN" as the Giants did as a team. The Giants got us through what we thought was the darkest time in our life as a family. Win or lose, we were dedicated to the Giants. Win or lose against cancer, and the Giants were part of it without them even knowing it. I was allowed to leave the hospital and go to a game with my medicine pump, my headwrap and wheelchair. It truly was one of the best days during a difficult journey. In December of 2014, I was diagnosed as cancer free, and we continued with our Giants football Sundays through 2015 with the face paint, the pom poms, the biting of the nails… it all went back to a typical football season. Then on February 22, 2016, a car crash killed my husband, Tim, and 5-year-old daughter, Bridget on the NJ Turnpike. The last football game I ever watched was the Super Bowl of 2016. I hadn't been able to watch any Giants games or any NFL games for that matter because the memories were too hard to deal with, after all, we bled blue as a family of four every Sunday. Then in October of 2018, I received an email from my husband’s former student who reached out to the Giants – my now only daughter and I were gifted 2 tickets and field passes to the Giants vs. Buccaneers game. This former student felt that I needed to get back to bleeding blue. He couldn't have been more right. That game was baby steps for me, and it was the beginning for us again, so to speak, to watching our favorite team, as hard as it was.

What are you looking forward to most in the 2019 football season?

Well everyone always hopes for a winning season and of course going to the big game, but as I learned throughout my cancer journey and the grief of the loss of half our family, we take baby steps. One game at a time. I am looking to have fun watching the game, bleeding blue, face paint and for our team to remain healthy and score. One Sunday at a time is all anyone can do!

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended?

I had originally signed up for the Women's Club in 2014 and never got to participate because of the cancer and subsequently the death of half my family. Just this past summer, I finally replied to one of the emails about watching training camp in the VIP section in July, and that day changed everything. As my first time attending this event by myself, I hadn't realized that there would be some Giant Alumni in attendance - Carl Banks, Shaun O'Hara and David Tyree. My family was alive when they played, so to see them and take pictures and hug them was a very emotional event for me. YES, I cried happy tears, even scaring David Tyree I think because he said, "Miss are you ok?" All I can remember was the joy that he gave everyone with the helmet catch while my two little girls watched on my lap. I've met amazing women that day that we now text and call each other and I consider friends. The Women's Club thus far has filled a small void for me on a personal level and for that I am forever grateful.

We love you Pam and are truly inspired by your courage every day! We are so glad to have you as a member of the Women’s Club!

Member Moment: Caroline Paskas

Summer-2019-Caroline-Paskas

Caroline Paskas is a diehard Giants fan and an active member of the Women’s Club. You can always catch her hanging out at our events and making sure she can be there for the next one. We’re lucky to have her in our corner and hope you enjoy her interview below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I grew up a Giants fan – my fondest memories are watching the games with my father. I married a Giants fan, and the tradition continued. My entire family wears BLUE!

Do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?

I always wear a piece of gear on gameday, and I also keep my father’s picture on the mantle by the TV (with his gear on) facing the screen as if he's still watching (he passed 10 years ago).

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My favorite past player will always be Lawrence Taylor #56. He was a beast! But my favorite present player is Saquon Barkley. I really enjoy watching him play, but I mostly love the team-player mentality he brings with him... such a humble young man. I was fortunate to meet him in April while they had an impromptu practice in Summit where I work.

Where do you watch Giants games?

The stadium! In 2010, I interviewed when the new stadium opened just to be close to my team on game day. Luckily, I was hired and have been there ever since as a “beertender”. It's the best place to be with the BEST football fans ever!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

The Giants are big on family, respect and giving back. The players are great role models for the youth of today. Some adults can learn good habits too, it's never too late. 

What are you looking forward to most in the 2019 football season?

I have a great feeling with all the newness the team picked up in the Draft. I see a whole new mentality of TEAM that is going to hit the field running this season. I feel positive with the changes Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur made and am sticking with it! Playoffs here we come!!

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended?

I enjoyed every event thoroughly, but my favorite of course would be Training Camp. To be able to interact with other women who love this team as much as myself was a really fun afternoon. The players made it so enjoyable with the conversations and photo opps – a day I still haven't forgotten.

So glad we got to interview you Caroline, and thank you for your support of our team!

Coach’s Corner: Bill McGovern

Bill-McGovern

For this edition of Coach’s Corner, we spoke with linebackers coach Bill McGovern. Growing up in an athletic family, it’s no surprise that Coach McGovern ended up working in the sports industry, but the best part is that he’s a local Jersey guy and grew up a Giants fan! Read below to find out more!

*What is your favorite part about being a football coach? *

The biggest thing is the interaction with the people you work with and obviously the players, and working towards one goal. That’s probably one of the more rewarding things about the game.

What has been the most exciting moment in your career?

I look at it a little bit differently… I don’t look at it as one game. I would think two things in particular probably jump out at me. One is the time in the locker room after you win, because you put so much into it and it’s the excitement and happiness… that time is intense and rewarding. The other thing is, I’m a local guy – getting hired by the Giants, and it’s not a cliché, but literally I’m coaching a team I grew up being a fan of. That’s one of the biggest things to come back and be with your family and the team you grew up with as a fan and followed – to be a part of it that’s been an exciting part of my career.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

My role model would be my Dad, who passed away a number of years ago. One of my mentors has been my high school football coach Tony Karcich. He was the head coach at Bergen Catholic and St. Joe’s and has been the athletic director at St. Joe’s. He’s a close friend of the family and basically a second father to me. Also, Coach Parcells. My Dad and Coach Parcells’ dad were good friends, and he has always been very good to my family. I always say this – we grew up in Oradell, NJ and I used to caddy for his father, and Coach Parcells is probably the most famous guy coming out of Oradell, but the most beloved in Oradell is his brother Dougie Parcells. He ran a summer rec program in Oradell that as kids we all grew up going to in the summer, and he was the umpire for baseball and referee for basketball – he ran everything so everybody knows Dougie. They named a field after Dougie in Oradell that’s how big he is. Obviously, just a great family.

Who is or was your favorite player to coach and why?

I couldn’t pick one. There’s so many guys, and you just enjoy the interaction with the guys. What’s pretty special is when you coach college, you have a little bit more of an effect on guys in terms of getting the work ethic to where you want it to be in preparation for the game, but here in the NFL, you’re getting guys at all different levels. You got guys coming in as rookies, guys in middle of their career, and guys in the back nine of their career, and everybody’s working towards the same common goal, but everyone needs a little different direction and instruction. Working with those guys has been special and seeing those guys have success is rewarding.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

That’s a good one. It came from my Dad: work hard, be honest, and be yourself.

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

I’m probably most suited to be a teacher – it’s really kind of what we do. We educate guys, and everybody learns differently, so you adjust how you teach them.

Special hobbies? Hidden talents?

I follow my girls’ activities and play some golf!

Any fun facts about you?

I had a tryout with the Giants and got cut by Bill Parcells! Also, I’m one of 9 kids, and all of my siblings are great athletes. My brother Rob got drafted by the Chiefs and played for the Steelers, Patriots and Browns. My brother Jimmy was a PGA golfer, my brother Dave was a pro golfer and my brothers Mike and Tom are excellent golfers. My mom and sisters were all great athletes as well, and my other brother Jack is an athletic director.

Thank you, Coach McGovern, for taking the time with us. On behalf of The Giants Women’s Club, we wish you much luck and continued success this football season!

Member Moment: Michele Grande

Michele-Grande

You may recognize Michele Grande, who we chose to interview for our Member Moment series. Michele is a staple at our annual Big Blue Challenge Charity Flag Football Game, when she is clad in eye black and anything pink, not only as a supporter of the Women’s Club but as a breast cancer survivor. We’ve been lucky enough to get to know Michele throughout the years and applaud her courage and strength through such a difficult time. Check out her interview below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

My guess is at birth. Ever since I can remember, Sundays were dedicated to church and football with the family. My Dad would go to most of the games at Shea Stadium, but if he didn’t go we would ALL be at home screaming and yelling at the television. I learned the game of football at a very young age and can remember arguing with neighborhood boys, who thought they knew more than I did… especially my knowledge on specific Giants players. Growing up, my brother Lenny played sports and I played softball, cheered and played co-ed flag football in college. My family was very involved and supportive; in fact, they never missed any of our games or activities. I remember having a cheerleading competition – the problem was it was on a Sunday during a New York Giants playoff game, BUT they still came to my competition, and when I looked into the stands, there was my crazy family with a radio and a portable TV listening and watching the game, sending me hand signals with score updates. TRUE BLUE DIEHARD FANS!

Do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?

I don't have any specific superstitions or rituals, but I do know my brother and his family have to do a pre-game tequila shot at their tailgate for good luck!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

That’s a tough one! Bill Parcells was my favorite coach, except when he had a lapse in judgement and went to coach the Cowboys. We've had too many great players to choose just one. I have a few favorites throughout the years starting with all-time legend Lawrence Taylor, then Michael Strahan, Mark Bavaro, and most recently Saquon Barkley and Will Hernandez. I respect and appreciate all the players who go the extra mile on and off the field. So many of them give back to the community, attending various charity events and visiting with youth groups – having a positive influence and teaching leadership and good sportsmanship.

Where do you watch Giants games?

My favorite place to watch is at the stadium with my favorite tailgate crew led by Anthony D'anna (aka my football husband) who has a group of 40 season ticket holders, charters a bus (Lot L2) and has the absolute best food ever! If I can't be at the game I actually prefer to watch it alone since I get loud and a little crazy at times…. especially during those all too often "nail-biters".

Michele-Grande

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

My favorite part about being a Giants fan is having the opportunity to participate in the October Breast Cancer Awareness pre-game ceremony over the past few years holding the pink ribbon flag with fellow survivors. I have so much respect for the New York Giants organization, and I am thankful for all they offer their BIG BLUE fans. Last year, our experience was extra special; my friend Michelle and I not only were holding the flag on the field but were honored to have been chosen to ring the bell with Amani Toomer. The best part was that for the second time, her husband was able to capture the moment on the jumbotron just as he did once before when I was holding the flag on the field. I truly have such great Giants memories. However, I think my ABSOLUTE favorite part of being a Giants fan hands down is beating the Dallas Cowboys!!!

What are you looking forward to most in the 2019 football season?

I always look forward to the Draft - hoping to pick up players who can make an impact where we need it most. I was waiting with bated breath last year hoping Roger Goodell would announce Saquon Barkley and remembering how excited I was, immediately texting all my fellow Giants fans. After the Draft while I was working one day at 24 Hour Fitness, I had the pleasure of meeting Will Hernandez. He was definitely caught off-guard that I knew right away that he was our 2nd round Draft pick, where he went to college, that he played guard and that his job was to make holes for Saquon so he can score and to be Eli's bodyguard and protect him. He stayed to work out, and when he finished he came into my office to chat some more. Will was so friendly, down to earth and appreciative of my being such a loyal fan of his. We took a picture together, and now it’s part of my Giants Memories Album.  

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended?

Definitely the Breast Cancer Flag Football game. I have participated every year since they started it and have met amazing ladies, fellow survivors, players and NYG employees over the past few years. The Giants organization and players are always giving back to the community and going the extra mile to support so many different charities and organizations. The money raised for the flag football event goes to Breast Cancer Awareness, and it is so humbling to see players come out to support us, be our coaches during the game and share how breast cancer has personally affected their own families, making it even more special. I have participated with my daughter, niece and even a co-worker creating such unforgettable memories, including scoring this year’s game winning touchdown! The staff who organize and run the event are some of the most caring, dedicated and fun to be with people I have ever worked with. I am blessed to be a part of the New York Giants Women’s Club and absolutely love being a Big Blue fan. 

We are so grateful for your support Michele and loved hearing from you!

The G-Women: Cassandra Petty

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We’re excited to bring you another front office interview for The G-Women series. This time, it’s Cassandra (Cassie) Petty who started with the team as an intern and got hired full-time upon completion of her internship! Hear her story below:

Name: Cassie Petty

Department: Community Relations

What does your job entail?

I work in the Community Relations Department as the Community Relations Coordinator. In my role, I cover an array of different responsibilities in both the office daily and on game day. Our department handles charitable donations for non-profit organizations. We donate to approximately 3,500 organizations in the tristate area (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut). It is my responsibility to sort through the donation requests daily. We try to help just about every non-profit that fills out the request in a timely manner (8 weeks prior to their event)!

Aside from donations, the Community Relations department handles and organizes player community appearances. As a department, we all attend the event. Typically, our appearances are on Tuesdays (the players’ day off).

On game day and during Training Camp as well, the Community Relations department handles VIP guests of the players, coaches and specific organizations such as Make-A-Wish NJ. In addition, I help coordinate and execute game day drives such as the toy drive, food drive, coat drive and My Cause, My Cleats.

How long have you worked for the Giants?

This is my third season with the Giants. I started in August of 2016 as an intern!

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Tell us about your journey with the team.

It has been a dream! Not many people can say that they started working in the NFL directly out of college. I graduated from Rutgers in May 2016, and in August, I hit the ground running with my internship in the community relations department. Following my first season, I was hired full-time. I love so many aspects of my role. I really enjoy giving back in the community, the game of football itself and planning events – so community relations was a homerun for me. I also love that the NFL is one giant family as well (no pun intended). I’ve created friendships with so many people within the organization and also across the league within the other clubs – my roommate actually works for the Jets, and I met her at our annual NFL community relations conference!

Have you always been a Giants fan?

I grew up in New Jersey and have always cheered on Big Blue. Growing up, I was more of a casual fan, but now my entire closet is Giants gear!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

That is a tough one! I appreciate all the players who take the time out of their week, especially on their day off, to join us in the community. I am truly amazed by the dedication that the players have to incorporate philanthropic work into their football career – Eli Manning, Mike Thomas and Saquon Barkley do an amazing job, just to name a few!

Do you have any game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

I’m not too superstitious, but I definitely cannot start game day without a large cup of coffee (is that considered a ritual?). I always stop at Starbucks on my way to the stadium. My go-to order is a venti iced coffee and during the holidays, I add 4 pumps of the seasonal flavor.

What’s your fondest memory with the team?

My fondest memory with the team occurs each year during Week 13 and that is the My Cause, My Cleats initiative. From day one of training camp until the day of the Week 13 game, I am engulfed in prepping for My Cause, My Cleats, which allows all players to wear a custom designed cleat in support of their favorite charitable cause. I love hearing the stories behind each player’s cause and learning more about the charities they have chosen. It’s such an amazing opportunity that the NFL has given the players to show a side of them that not all fans know about.

What’s the coolest place you have traveled to with the Giants?

The coolest place that I’ve been with the Giants was Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, a tri-service military base in New Jersey, for the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft pick announcement. We met the families that live on-base, went onboard different aircrafts and even attended a youth flag football game at their sports fields before the pick was announced by our players on NFL Network. It was an amazing experience!

What do you like most about working for the Giants?

My favorite thing about working for the Giants is the history of the organization and the team that dates all the way back to 1925. I love that our organization is very family focused, and in a way, each department is its own mini-family, where we all come to work each day to support one another and push each other to be our best selves. It’s a great atmosphere, and I love hearing stories from my coworkers about memories they have made and shared because of being a part of the Giants family.

Cassie Petty

Member Moment: Jessica Vargas

Jessica Vargas

You know it’s true dedication when a Women’s Club member rushes from work and attends one of our events in her scrubs! That member, Jessica Vargas, loves being involved with the Women’s Club and never misses a beat! Check out her Member Moment interview below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

Well, since my entire family is made up of Giants fans, I grew up loving the Giants. I remember as a child we’d all get together on the weekends waiting for the games to come on. 

Do you have any gameday rituals or superstitions?

Yes, for some funny reason, I actually took on the weekend gathering and cooking on gameday. However, I feel when I do NOT watch the entire game - they win!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

As we all know, OBJ is everyone's favorite, even my kids, but for me, it’s Eli. I just think he is the heart of the team. 

Where do you watch Giants games?

If I'm at work, since I work in the ER, I’ll find a TV and peek when I can!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

Celebrating win or lose, meeting the players and knowing their history.

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended?

Wow there are so many! The breast cancer event - meeting all the women there was such a great moment. Also, the Nickelodeon event – when my boys met OBJ their faces lit up! Priceless!

Thanks for chatting with us Jessica! So glad to have you as a Women’s Club member!

Member Moment: Gianna Caruso

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From our very first Women’s Club event (2014 Training Camp!) to our most recent event, Gianna Caruso is there with her big smile and infectious energy, laughing and joking around the entire time – and we love her for it! We hope you enjoy her Member Moment interview:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I have been a Giants fan since birth, following in my dad’s footsteps. On Sundays, it was me and him watching football all day. I learned to love not only the Giants but the game itself. I started going to games as a teen, then regularly in the early 90's, (I even danced in a few 90's halftime shows with Reebok). I waited many, many long years on the waiting list, and now I've finally had my own season tickets for about 12 years.

Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?

I have only certain Giants socks that I wear. Away or home I must have them on. When I am at the games, we do have certain silly things we do. We only enter our row from a certain side. And if they happen to lose a game, I don't wear those clothes for the next few games. I know it’s silly. 

Who is your favorite Giants player?

Ah this is a tough one because I've been a fan so long. I mean I don't think there has been a better player than Lawrence Taylor. I loved the players who just show every day how they loved the game of football. Mark Bavaro, Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs. More recently, although he was released this year, Mark Herzlich and all he had to overcome to become a Giant. He always demonstrated his perseverance, hard work, faith and love for the game. And of course, Eli Manning.  

Where do you watch Giants games?

Well, of course all the home games, I am in section 126! Away games, it depends but usually home watching with friends. I’d much rather be there.

GiannaCaruso1

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

As a Giants fan, historically I have had the luxury of being able to be there to witness some of the best playoff games. I have been alive to see all the Super Bowl wins, and I've been to all the parades! Some people will never get that. I think the fans in our area, NJ and NY, are a special breed. You automatically have a bond with people.  

What are you looking forward to most in the 2018 football season?

Just looking to see this team start clicking with all the new players as fast as they can. The Super Bowl teams of the past, 2007, 2011...those guys played together for a really long time and with the same coach. They had a lot of time to get it right with a lot of practice. It's hard to rush that kind of cohesiveness. I just hope Manning can click with the receivers and the running backs quickly so we can have a winning season under a new coaching regime. Either way, I'll be there cheering them on. 

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended and why?

It's hard to choose! I love Training Camp because of the opportunity to interact with the players. The Flag Football events were awesome because you had fun with players and got to raise money for a good cause. The wine and paint was another favorite! I can't choose! What I will say about the club is, as a season ticket holder, we pay a lot of money for these tickets, and it is very nice to have the Women's Club that gives us the opportunity to attend fun events in conjunction with the Giants organization.  

We loved interviewing you Gianna! We’ll see you at the next Women’s Club event!

Player Profile: Rhett Ellison

Rhett Ellison

For this Player Profile interview, we heard from Giants tight end Rhett Ellison, who we learned, is embracing all things Jersey! Check it out below:

What does your game day routine look like? Do you have any game day rituals?

I usually eat the same thing, depending if it’s a night game or early game. Breakfast will the same, and if it’s a late game, lunch will be the same. I try to get there around 3 hours before the game. I start rolling out, stretching and get out on the field. I always have coffee before the game and get taped up. Game day breakfast is just 3 scrambled eggs, potatoes, bacon and a protein shake. Dinner is a steak, potatoes and veggies – pretty simple.

What’s your favorite pump up song?

I don’t really have a favorite pump up song because I don’t really listen to music before the game. I try to keep it loose and relaxed – not a big music before the game guy.

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

My dad played so I have to look up to him! He was a linebacker though, so he’s a little different. There’s plenty of guys I grew up looking up to – guys like Heath Miller, even Bear Pascoe because we did a lot of the same stuff in college. It’s a very similar position to what he was doing here. Todd Heap from the tight end realm and Barry Sanders – that’s the guy you can just watch highlight tapes of forever.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Probably 2 things. I remember when I got married, my grandma told me to keep God first in our house and that’s something we try to do every day. The other advice was from my stepdad, and it was “happy wife, happy life”. Those kind of work together!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a pretty good cook. My wife likes when I barbeque. I’ll do a Hawaiian style chicken with some sticky rice. Since we’re in Jersey, I’ve been trying to master a red sauce, so she’s a big fan of that.

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

It would probably be in the extreme sport realm like a snowboarder or something!

What are your hobbies?

I like music, and I like playing drums, but I’m very average. I haven’t snowboarded since I started playing in the NFL, but that was one of my favorite things to do as a kid, so whenever I’m done playing, I look forward to shredding some gnar again!

Thanks for the interview, Rhett! Good luck this season!

Member Moment: Ginelle Veenhuizen

Summer 2018 Ginelle Veenhuizen

For Women’s Club member Ginelle Veenhuizen, attending every Giants game is just a regular part of her fall routine – no big deal! For this entry in our Member Moment series, we learned a little bit more about the friendly face we see at so many of our Women’s Club events, and we hope you enjoy reading about her as well:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I actually grew up in a NY Giants home. My dad is 91, and my mom is 84 now. My dad has had Giants season tickets since the 1960’s with my uncle Robert Whitelock. I really became a fan in the 1980’s, after I graduated college. This is when I really learned the game and started to watch regularly. I’m a registered nurse and know so many of my female co-workers who love NFL football. I have also gotten some of them interested in football, and they are big NY Giants fans now, too. We talk about the games and the team all the time!

Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?

Well, I always wear all of my NY Giants clothes, and I can’t go to a game without putting on my NY Giants temporary tattoos. I put them on my face, on both cheeks, and then I know I’m ready for the game. I go to the game with other family members, and we always go to “Rutt’s Hut” in Clifton, NJ for hot dogs known as “rippers” and french fries. We meet other NY Giants fans at the counter, and we talk about our beloved Giants and get ready for the game. We always meet someone new, and it’s fans of all ages and backgrounds. We always leave there feeling happy and excited for the game! After the games, I always listen to the post game on the radio and talk to my parents on the phone, so we can recap the game.

Who is your favorite Giants player?

This is a very hard question for me. If I talk about when I first became a fan in the 80’s, it’s Carl Banks. I just think Carl was an awesome linebacker and love listening to him on the radio today. I’m so glad he is still so closely associated with the NY Giants. I do know it’s “Once a Giant always a Giant”! My current favorite player is QB, Eli Manning. I think he is so humble, strong and just perfect for the NY Giants. The joy he has brought to me and the fans with his talent and leading us to two Super Bowl wins, is priceless. I watch DVD’s of the Super Bowls all the time and I still get the same thrill of the wins every time I watch! However, my favorite player of all-time is wide receiver, Plaxico Burress! I remember watching him play before he became a NY Giant. I remember saying to my husband John, that I just thought there was something about him, he was a such a great player, and I would love to see him on the Giants. I remember John calling me from work about a year later and telling me Plaxico was coming to the Giants. I really thought my husband was teasing me, but it was true! I was so happy when he caught the winning catch in Super Bowl XLII! I think Plaxico was a fabulous player and also a true example that no one in this world is perfect, and everyone deserves second chances. I also have to mention Tom Coughlin, thank you for everything you did for the NY Giants!

Summer 2018 Ginelle Veenhuizen 2

Where do you watch Giants games?

I’m at every home game at MetLife Stadium, as I’m lucky enough to have seasons tickets for the Giants with my sister, Jolene Hill. Some of my other family members also have season tickets! We are truly a NY Giants family for a few generations. If I’m not at the game, I get up early on Sunday morning for church and get all of my things done for the day so I can watch my Giants and all the other NFL games for the rest of the day. My husband John gets a kick out of how much I love the Giants. I’m a “girlie girl” but football is really for everyone!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

I just love the wonderful legacy of the NY Giants and it being passed down to me from my mom and dad. I feel that the NY Giants and the Mara family, especially Wellington Mara, have made the NFL what it is today. Without him, I don’t think the NFL would have survived. Life is hard, and we all need to escape and need to enjoy life. My football is really my favorite pastime, and I can enjoy it year round! I just really love the game and the Giants!

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming football season?

I’m looking forward to bouncing back from a difficult year last year in 2017. The new players are really exciting, including running back, Saquon Barkley. Everyone keeps telling me, he’s not just a running back, he is going to catch the ball a lot, too. I want to wish the new coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettleman all the best! Go Big Blue!

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended and why?

I have attended quite a few events, and they are all fun! I really like that there are women of all ages in the club. My favorite event was probably the chance to play with some of the players and coaches at the “Crucial Catch” Flag Football Game. It was fun, raised money and brings attention to the most common cause of cancer in American women, breast cancer. As a woman and registered nurse, this is very important to me and brings awareness to the very serious health issue. I hope a lot of other women join the Women’s Club!

Thank you for interviewing with us Ginelle – can’t wait to see you this season!

Ladies in the Limelight: Alexis Harrison

Summer 2018 Alexis Harrison

We’re back with Ladies in the Limelight and this time, we were excited to chat with Alexis Harrison, wife of Giants defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison. Read below to learn some more about her!

How did you and Damon meet?

We actually met online in early 2012. Damon was training in Boca Raton, FL, and at the time, I was in the Army stationed in Miami as well as attending school. Although our connection was “fairy tale” strong, our lifestyles and constant changes caused us to talk less and less, and eventually we stopped talking completely. Well, October that same year the spark ignited again, picked up where it left off and it has been history in the making ever since. 

*Do you have any special game day rituals? *

I would say my only game day ritual is to pray for my husband’s protection. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Football isn’t just a physical sport. Playing in the NFL tests players on a daily basis in all four aspects. 

Are you superstitious?

I’m not superstitious at all. HOWEVER, Damon is VERY superstitious. He is from Louisiana so that plays a huge part of it, but I’m sure he added some on top because it’s excessive. 

Are there any causes that are important to you and/or Damon?

Yes, Damon’s non-profit organization, The I Told The Storm Foundation, caters to helping underprivileged children “providing enriching activities and personal development that exposes youth and families to greater opportunities that will enhance the quality of their lives”. More information and an opportunity to donate can be found on www.itoldthestorm.org.

Do you and Damon have any special hobbies?

I have lots of hobbies!! I am a military brat and also a veteran, so I’m very adventurous. It’s always interesting to see what I can get Damon to do with me. I also study Naturopathic Medicine and will be launching a Luxury Nail Subscription Box, Parlōur Luxé Nails, this coming October which I’m very excited about. We have a now 9-month-old son, Damon “Snacks Jr.” Harrison, and the idea sparked while I was pregnant. I didn’t have the energy nor time to waste at a traditional nail salon. With my husband having constant events, pregnant or not, I still had to show up and be flawless from head to toe. Press on nails were my life saver. Parlōur Luxé has nails for all, and the quality is apparent. My favorite are the mommy nails though. They allow me to still have a flawless gel manicure without harming my son in any way and saves me a heck of a lot of time. They even last longer than a traditional set. Our motto is “Quality and time isn’t expensive, it’s priceless”. ParlourLuxeNails.com currently enables email subscription signups where we update our subscribers and provide coupon codes (yes, I love me some coupons)!

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

I have a home gym where I mostly focus on abs (which have yet to return). I also focus on arms and legs. I have really been doing a lot of research on the Peloton cycle and treadmill, so we will see how that turns out. 

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m a do it all type of person, so if you ask me, I have all the talents. However, my favorite is being Super Mom.

*What other teams have you and Damon been associated with? *

Uniquely, we were with the New York Jets for the first 4 years of Damon’s NFL career. We have been blessed to wear both of New York’s green and white and blue and red! 

Thank you, Alexis for taking some time for the Women’s Club! We loved hearing from you!

Member Moment: Robin Kelly

For this entry in our Member Moment series, we interviewed Robin Kelly, who is as diehard a Giants fan as they come. Robin attends every Women’s Club event (dressed from head to toe in Giants gear) and has had season tickets for years. Robin is such a regular that she has actually befriended some of the women who work for the organization! We love how dedicated she is to the team and to the Women’s Club, and we hope you enjoy reading a bit about her:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I first became a Giants fan in the mid-‘70s when my friend's dad took me to my first Giants game. Not only did I then go to every home game but since he knew some of the players, I got to have dinner after the game at Manny's in Moonachie with some players. So watching the game meant more to me because I was watching players I knew and would see after the game.

Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?

Yes, I do have some rituals and superstitions! When I am home watching the game, I always sit in the same place, never answer the phone during the game, place a photo of the game on my classroom Giants bulletin board and give my students chocolate kisses the day after a Giants win (a large chocolate bar after a Super Bowl win). I don't wear Giants gear on game day unless I am at the game; then I wear the same color jersey as the team. I did wear my Super Bowl 42 jersey at the 10th anniversary game since I did wear the team’s colors when I saw them in Arizona beating the Patriots, for a Giants win!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My favorite Giants player is Dave Jennings. He was a very talented punter (1974-87), and the first time I met him he was a such a gentleman. Towards the end of his career, I now had a son and would tell him (as a toddler) Dave was his idol.

Where do you watch Giants games?

I watch most of the games at home these days but make sure I get to the stadium for some games. I also had the opportunity to see the team play at Washington, Dallas and the best was Arizona.

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

The best part of being a Giants fan is having a team you can be proud of by being an organization with integrity. I think it's great that the team believes players are a "Giant for life", and it's a "family" that takes care of their own, as well as their community.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming football season?

I am looking forward to the 2018 season to see the impact of Coach Shurmur on the team and the fresh new start for a successful season. I also enjoy going to watch the team practice during the summer.

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended and why?

It's hard to pick just one event as a favorite. The flag football games were great because we got to donate to an important charity, meet players, play on the same indoor field as the team, seeing the Super Bowl banners, going into the main office, seeing the Lombardi trophies and, of course, interacting with other women that have the same passion for the Giants.

Thank you for such a fun interview, Robin! Of course, we can’t wait to see you at more Women’s Club events in the future!

The G-Women: Jen Conley

As the Giants’ first female PR professional, Jen Conley is breaking barriers, and we love hearing about it! For this edition of The G-Women, Jen tells us all about her time with the team (13 seasons!), which has been quite the ride! Check it out below:

Name: Jen Conley

Department: Public Relations

What does your job entail?

The PR department is responsible for all elements of communications. We work to protect, promote and enhance the Giants image and overall business initiatives, and we are also responsible for all football related information. We are the primary liaison between the media and the organization. We work with the players to prepare them for media obligations and work with the media to fulfill and facilitate their requests. We also work with the television networks in advance of each game, helping them prepare for their coverage. We maintain all historical and statistical information for the Giants and produce a weekly game release that provides team and game information. We are constantly monitoring social media to see what is being said about the Giants organization and to keep up with all of our media coverage.

How long have you worked for the Giants?

Since 2005! This is my 13th season with the team.

Tell us about your journey with the team.

It’s been an incredible experience. I first started as an intern with the Community Relations department in the summer of 2005 and was hired full-time after that. I spent 11 seasons in the Community Relations department and have spent the past two in Public Relations.

Have you always been a Giants fan?

Full disclosure: I grew up in Quincy, Mass., which is just south of Boston; HOWEVER, my father has been a life-long Giants fan, and we ALWAYS watched the Giants growing up. I knew there was always something special about the Giants, and to be able to work for the organization has really been a dream come true.

Who is your favorite Giants player?

No favorites when everyone is family!

Do you have any game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

The only ritual I have is that I always wear my diamond “NY” pendant on game days. I don’t consider myself to be superstitious; however, I did wear the same red Giants sweatshirt to both Super Bowls, so there might be some luck in that!

What’s your fondest memory with the team?

The two most obvious answers would be Super Bowls 42 & 46 … but I would have to say some of my greatest memories were hosting Make-A-Wish children on road trips. Being able to host them as they travel with the team, and seeing their excitement, is the most fulfilling and rewarding feeling. Oh, and the ticker tape parades in NYC after we won the Super Bowls!

What’s the coolest place you have traveled to with the Giants?

Hmm.. that’s another tough question! I’ve been fortunate to have so many amazing experiences with the team… but I would have to say that going to London for the two international series games would be the coolest!

What do you like most about working for the Giants?

I love working for the Giants organization because it really is a family. The saying, “Once A Giant, Always A Giant” is not just a saying but truly a motto the organization believes in. It is a pleasure to work for the Mara and Tisch families, and I have an amazing group of co-workers (staff, players and coaches). We work long hours, but we are all working towards the same goal: to win a championship!

Member Moment: Kathleen Dillon

For this month’s Member Moment series, we were excited to interview Kathleen Dillon, who is not only an active member of the Women’s Club but also explained to us how the club literally changed her life. When we first launched the club back in 2014, the goal was to create a fun environment for ladies who are diehard Giants fans, but over the years, we’ve learned that it’s turned into so much more than that. The friendships, memories and life-changing moments that have occurred because of the club have shown us the real meaning of The Giants Women’s Club. We hope you enjoy reading Kathleen’s amazing story below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I grew up with two brothers and a father who watched football and the Giants, but I loved Larry Csonka and the Dolphins. When Csonka came to the Giants in 1976, I came with him, so I've been a Giants fan for 41 years! My dad is 88 and still a Giants fan.

Where do you watch Giants games?

I watch the Giants at home with my family.

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

I love football and watching the Giants, and I love that I have also converted my son and daughter into Giants fans (I lost one son to the Colts). I love talking to friends and co-workers about the team and following them on social media. I also thank the Giants for having The Giants Women's Club, I so enjoy being a part of it.

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming football season?

Looking forward to Eli Manning having a better year, OBJ coming back from his injury and, as always, beating the Cowboys!

What was your favorite Women’s Club event that you attended and why?

I would have to say my favorite Women's Club event would be the one that changed my life for the better, the first breast cancer flag football game [Big Blue Challenge Charity Flag Football Game]. At the event, I was so overweight, I had trouble running and exercising and I was sweating and very uncomfortable. But I had such a great time, and the man who ran the event was such a great motivator, I knew I wanted to change. So, I asked for and received a Fitbit for my birthday and started at 2000 steps. I have lost 26 pounds and am now at 7000 steps a day. I am so much more active and feel so much better!

Kathleen, we are so proud of you and are so grateful to have you as a member of the Women’s Club! You are an inspiration! We can’t wait to see you at future events as we cheer on the Giants!

The G-Women: Emma Kaptein

We have enjoyed bringing you our front office interviews for The G-Women. For this month’s edition, we were so excited to sit down with Emma Kaptein, who you might even recognize! Emma works on the production side of the marketing department and has quite a unique story leading up to her employment with the team. Check it out below:

Name: Emma Kaptein

Department: Marketing

What does your job entail?

I produce, edit and coordinate video content that airs on Giants.com, social media and TV. This past year, I started hosting web and social videos. I also help coordinate the game day entertainment, which includes pre-game, anthem performers, halftime entertainment and fan giveaways/contests.

How long have you worked for the Giants?

2 years!

Tell us about your journey with the team.

I interned with the Giants in 2012, and it was the BEST internship I ever had! I knew I wanted to come back and contribute in any possible way. After I graduated from Montclair State University in the spring of 2013, I was hired as a freelance Production Assistant. I was freelance for a little over two years until I was hired as a fulltime employee in 2015!

Have you always been a Giants fan?

YES! My father raised me as a Giants fan. We used to go to all the Giants games together, and I will always cherish those memories!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

All of them!

Do you have any game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

Hmm.. I wouldn’t say that I am superstitious, but I always meditate before every game day.

What’s your fondest memory with the team?

I have two! 1… getting hired fulltime, and 2… going to Albany for training camp my intern year!

What’s the coolest place you have traveled to with the Giants?

The coolest place I was able to travel to is London when the Giants played the Rams in 2016! I’ve never been to London before, so it was an awesome experience!

What do you like most about working for the Giants?

I love everything about working for the Giants – it’s not just one thing. The Giants organization is my family, and I feel so blessed to be a part of it. Football is my PASSION!

Coach's Corner: Kevin M. Gilbride

For this month’s Coach’s Corner interview series, we have the opportunity to hear from Coach Kevin M. Gilbride. After spending seven seasons coaching on the college level, Coach Gilbride entered the NFL as a quality control coach for the Giants before coaching the wide receivers and then the tight ends for the team. As the son of former Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride, he truly knows the meaning of “football is family” and with seven seasons under his belt with the Giants, we know this football lineage is just getting started!

What is your favorite part about being a football coach?

The camaraderie between the players and coaches and amongst the coaches. You spend so much time together that you get to know each other very well. You care about each in a special and individual way. A strong bond forms, and it is hard to break.

What has been the most exciting moment in your career?

It is hard to beat the Super Bowl win! You really cannot beat the feeling of pouring so much of your heart and soul into accomplishing a goal with your family (both literal and football) and coming out as champions. It was very special. It is only rivaled by the three years I spent at Temple University. Teaching those teenagers how to grow up and be men through the course of their four (sometimes five) years was incredibly rewarding as a coach. It was so much more than football. We taught them how to grow academically, socially and athletically – in that order. It was a true change in culture. They became tough-minded men who are productive achievers in society today. I am excited every day to hear about their achievements.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

My father had an incredible influence on my life as a role model and not necessarily because he was a good football coach. He was a great role model because of who he is as a man in the coaching profession. He was never one to play favorites or brown nose. He was a good person to everyone he came across, and he treated everyone the same. If you were doing your job, he treated you well and if you weren’t, you were going to hear about it… and hear about it in a big way!!

My mother is continually a great role model as well. It is not easy being a coach’s wife. For six months out of the year, you are a single mom never knowing if your husband will be coaching for the same team the next year. You’re dealing with the kids, packing up for moves, selling the house, postponing a move and staying in an apartment for a year so your son can finish high school (like my mom and I did in Jacksonville while my dad was in San Diego). There is so much more that I could say on this topic. My mother did it all with such grace and love.

Lastly, a man named George DeLeone is both a role model and mentor. Coach DeLeone is the hardest working man I have ever seen. There is never a stone unturned. I was a graduate assistant for him at Syracuse University and then had the opportunity to coach alongside of him at Temple University. He’s the man I call for advice. I can get a truly unbiased opinion about any life situation when I call Coach DeLeone. I know he has my best interest at heart and will say what he believes is right, not just what I want to hear or what might be better in the short term.

Who is or was your favorite player to coach and why?

Tough one. Really tough! If I’m limited to one player, then I have to say Daniel Fells. He was a smart, savvy, tough football player who played the game the right way. He always found a way to get his job done. He loved his teammates and wanted nothing more than to go out there with his brothers and win football games together. It is a blessing as a coach when you are around guys like Daniel.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Never worry about your next job or the job you want to have. Pour your heart and soul into YOUR job and let your track record speak for itself.

If you could coach a different position group, which would it be and why?

I love coaching the tight ends. In our offense, the tight ends are asked to play multiple roles. They split out at receiver, play in the backfield as a fullback and in line as a traditional tight end. They need to know what everyone on the field is doing because they could be in any of those places based on the formation and play called. The other position that I would like to eventually coach is the quarterbacks. They too need to know what every player on the field is doing. I am a former quarterback and think how a quarterback thinks, so it has always been a goal of mine.

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

I truly do not know what I would be doing if I was not coaching. Some form of teaching would have to be involved. I get a great feeling of fulfillment in the development of young people.

Special hobbies? Hidden talents?

Hobbies: bowling!! I love it. I also love going to country music concerts. Hidden talents: juggling and drop-kicking a football.

Any fun facts about you?

I have lived in 14 different places!

Thank you Coach Gilbride for taking the time with us. On behalf of The Giants Women’s Club, we wish you much luck and continued success this football season!

Player Profile: Sterling Shepard

We were excited to sit down with Giants player Sterling Shepard for this month’s Player Profile interview series! Giants employee and Women’s Club member, Cassie Petty, got all the inside scoop about last year’s second round draft pick and ever-so-smiley wide receiver! Check it out below:

What does your game day routine look like? Do you have any game day rituals?

Nothing crazy. I wake up, eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast – always gotta have oatmeal, go to our walk through and special team meeting. I just try to get in my zone, listen to music, then get out there pregame and do my same old routes that I always do… Dance a little, shake some people’s hands, and then it’s game time!

What’s your favorite pump up song?

I Don’t Get Tired by Kevin Gates

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

I really look up to all athletes, but back in the day, Chad Johnson!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stay humble!

Do you have any hidden talents?

I’m ambidextrous!

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

Definitely basketball because I’m a baller! But also that’s the only other sport that I played in high school!

What are your hobbies?

In my spare time, I like to hang out with family and chill out… play some video games here and there. Back home it’s totally different. I like to go out to the range and ride horses.

Fun fact about Sterling:

I was named after my great grandfather on my dad’s side.

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Sterling! We hope you enjoy the rest of your off-season, and we’ll see you on the field!

Member Moment: Bonita Gillard

For this month’s Member Moment series, we interviewed Bonita Gillard, one of our incredibly loyal, diehard and fun Giants Women’s Club members! It doesn’t matter where one of our events is being held – Bonita will figure out a way to get there and will be smiling, laughing and making friends with everyone around her. We are so thankful to have her as part of the club and of course, as a huge Giants fan! We hope you enjoy her interview below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I became a Giants fan when I was in high school, but I started to really bleed blue when they won Super Bowl XXI!

Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?

My only game day ritual is deciding which jersey to wear to the game!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My favorite retired player is Justin Tuck. I wore his jersey to the game when his name was added to the Ring of Honor. My favorite current player is Jason Pierre-Paul!

Where do you watch Giants games?

Of course my favorite place to watch games is at the stadium for all home games!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

My favorite parts about being a Giants fan are having the opportunity to have witnessed all of their Super Bowl wins and when I’m in the stadium sharing the love of the Giants with the 80,000+ other fans!

What are you looking forward to most this upcoming football season?

For the 2017 season, I’m looking forward to our defense continuing to be a dominant force and for offense to continue to get better. And, of course, a trip back to Super Bowl and a win would be great!

Thank you for the interview, Bonita! We can’t wait to see you at our future Women’s Club events

Ladies in the Limelight: Darlene Johnson

For this month’s Ladies in the Limelight series, we changed it up a bit and interviewed a coach’s wife! Darlene Johnson, wife of running backs coach Craig Johnson, has been a diehard Giants fan her whole life, so you can imagine her excitement when Coach Johnson signed on with the team in 2014! We hope you enjoy reading about Darlene!

How did you and Craig meet?

Craig and I were introduced by a fellow coach while Craig was the running backs coach for Rutgers University in 1986, and I was working for the Division of Dining Services - Computer Services. Jim Taiga, the coach who introduced us, was in my office to set up training table meals when my coworker asked if we could meet the new coach who came from West Point (Craig). Coach Taiga brought Craig over later to meet me, but we didn't connect personally until 9 month later. On our first date, Craig was quick to tell me his time was limited because of his schedule, so he started asking me lots of questions to determine the level of interest he would have in me (I suspected). A few of the questions he asked were "Do you like football?” and “What do you know about football?" Well, being a huge Giants fan I overwhelmed him with my knowledge of football and the NY Giants. I gave him some statistical data regarding the Giants from that current season, and it knocked his socks off! He definitely got more than he bargained for! Later that season I held a Super Bowl party, and he and his friend were the only Denver Broncos fans in the house. I won the bet (Giants 39, Denver 20 - January 25, 1987), and he had to take me to Tavern on the Green for dinner! We still laugh about that. Needless to say, he never questioned my passion for football after that.

We know you’re a huge Giants fan! How/when did that start?

My passion for the NY Giants started when I was a child. My dad was a huge fan. He would be so proud that we are a part of the organization now, but he died right after Craig was hired. My dad was one of eight boys, and they all played sports, so football was always on TV when I was growing up. I couldn't help but love the G-men!

Do you have any special game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

I am not superstitious, but I do pray all year long for the protection and excellence for each player, coach and support staff. Because Craig has coached thirty plus years, we have lots of friends and family that follow his career and support us, so we usually tailgate when possible before each home game. My two adult daughters (Shelby and Sydney) and I now pick one away game each season and travel for a mother/daughter weekend. They both have grown passionate about football and love the NY Giants almost as much as I do!

Are there any causes that are important to you and/or Craig?

Craig and I support the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (I serve on the National Board of Trustees), Compassion International, I Am Second - Nashville and the Alzheimer's Association. We care about fighting homelessness and care about quality education for all children.

Do you and Craig have any special hobbies?

When we have the time, we like to travel together, go to sporting events and enjoy a good meal! We especially enjoy the beach and biking in Colorado.

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

If I'm outdoors I like hiking or biking. Otherwise, I enjoy the elliptical machine, cross training and weight training. My latest interest is in paddle boarding.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I enjoy painting furniture with chalk paint when I have time.

What other teams have you and Craig been associated with?

On the college level, Craig coached for Wyoming, Arkansas, West Point, Rutgers, Virginia Military Institute, Northwestern University and the University of Maryland. The NFL teams are the Tennessee Titans, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants!

Thank you Darlene for allowing us to interview you, and we thank you for being such a loyal and supportive Giants fan!

The G-Women: Sarita Borojevic

For this month’s interview series, we are so excited to bring you another interview for The G-Women with one of our female employees in the marketing department. After working in New York City for the NFL, Sarita Borojevic eventually made her way to New Jersey to bring her many years of expertise in the sports industry to the Football Giants. Check it out below:

Name: Sarita Borojevic

Department: Marketing

What does your job entail?

My job duties entail assuring that the sponsors I handle receive all their contractual assets, and I make sure they know I am here to assist them in any way I can and make them feel like an important part of the Giants family, which they certainly are. I also procure our former players for appearances that our sponsors receive as a part of their contracts, as well as any they may request in addition. I handle the ticket allotment for the marketing department as well, which fills any ticket requests that our sponsors may have during the season.

How long have you worked for the Giants?

It will be 8 years next month.

Tell us about your journey with the team.

When I was hired by the Giants, it was a gift from God. I had just left the NFL, where I worked 11 and one-half years, and the transition to this team was one of the greatest blessings of my life and I am grateful for every day. There is not a day that I don’t feel that way. It is not a job when you love what you do and are working in the field of your passion, and I am very fortunate that is my situation. There is no place I’d rather be. When I walk inside, I feel I am home. Because it is not a very large company, everyone has the benefit of knowing each other, which creates that sense of comfort. We have the greatest owners in the league in the Mara and Tisch families who make us feel valued and appreciated. The leadership creates loyalty, dedication and adoration for the organization by setting an example of kindness, generosity, passion and pride. That is what makes the Giants so exceptional. A tradition of all those qualities has been in existence since 1925 and is significant in what the New York Football Giants exemplify.

Have you always been a Giants fan?

As a matter of fact, I became a football fan with the ’85 Chicago Bears. Before the Bears got everyone’s attention with their Super Bowl Shuffle and their extraordinary almost-undefeated season, I did not pay much attention to the game, but it quickly became my favorite sport to watch. Once I started working for the league in 1997, I met countless players and coaches and became a fan of the individuals more than the teams they played for or coached, so I was basically a “multi team” fan because I rooted for the guys I knew, regardless of the team they were on. Of course, I loved the home teams, which included the Jets, but my allegiance was to all because I worked for all the clubs. Being at the league, though, I always wanted to work for the Giants because I knew of the storied history, the tradition of excellence, and I had met Mr. Wellington Mara at Owners’ meetings and adored him. Everyone was a fan of Mr. Mara. He was a very special man, so this was my ultimate dream, to work here one day, and thankfully, it came true in 2009. My love and passion for the Giants is immeasurable.

Who is your favorite Giants player?

Not sure if this question applies to “all-time favorite Giants player” or current player only, so I will answer both the same. I don’t have just one. I have many favorite former players because I work with many of them and have gotten to know them, so I can’t possibly pick one or even a few. As far as my favorite current player, many have left a great impression on me in how they get involved in charities, how they give back and how they affect the fans in countless positive ways by bringing joy and excitement everywhere they go. Many of our guys are extraordinary in their community service participation and their involvement in numerous charitable initiatives. They truly make the organization proud.

Do you have any game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

Every game day I wear my “NY” necklace and my bracelet with a few “NY” charms on it. I am somewhat superstitious but not so much that I need to wear the same outfit if we win a game and keep wearing it until we don’t.

What’s your fondest memory with the team?

Going to Super Bowl XLVI, of course! When I was with the league, I worked nine Super Bowls, three of them in combination with the Pro Bowl, until I just handled the Pro Bowl the last four years. It was all a fantastic adventure, especially the Pro Bowl, which was my favorite event to work. It was always in Hawaii, so it was more like a gift instead of a job. However, having experienced all those Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XL in Detroit on Feb. 5, 2006, where I was in charge of getting all the MVPs of past Super Bowls together (my all-time favorite league assignment), there was NOTHING close to the experience of going to a Super Bowl where the team I worked for is IN the game. THAT was one of the greatest joys of my life.

From getting on a bus at the facility, being driven to the private hangar where a charter plane waited for us at Newark Airport, being in Indianapolis with my mom and cousin, in Lucas Oil Stadium and watching our guys beat the Patriots AGAIN, there is truly very little that compares to being a part of something so magical. There were tears, there was hugging strangers, there was falling over seats from jumping up and down, there was the kind of emotion that only exists in that kind of setting when the team you love wins the biggest game of their lives. We all won that day. Numerous Indy memories those four days, from the hotel, to the fans, to the Championship party after the game…countless extraordinary moments. And there was more to come. We all rode in the victory parade in Manhattan, on a double-decker bus, with over a million fans cheering. And the most incredible part of it all is that we ALL got our very own Super Bowl ring – not a replica, not a lesser version, but the actual, real, genuine Super Bowl ring. My most prized possession. We had a ceremony for the employees in the auditorium, and John Mara thanked us for the work we do, and mentioned that we are all a part of the “team”. There is no better boss, owner or person than that man, who walks these halls every day and calls everyone by their name. It amazes me because I’ve been here eight years, and I still have problems with recalling everyone’s name. I remember Coach Coughlin handing the blue Tiffany & Co. box to each of us as Mr. Mara announced us individually. I will never forget that. Very emotional day. Everyone was so excited, as we took pictures with the ring and our new Lombardi trophy, and we continued the celebration with a barbeque outside. To witness and experience our Super Bowl XLVI win and everything that followed is of one of the greatest blessings I have ever been given. I will rave about it, celebrate it and recall it with the same excitement in my voice, for the rest of my life.

What’s the coolest place you got to travel to with the Giants?

Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, as outlined above. Nothing really beats that, until we go back to another Super Bowl city – Minneapolis, this coming season. Can’t wait!

What do you like most about working for the Giants?

It’s not just ONE thing. I love the people I work with, the organization - our owners, personnel, coaches, players. I love what I do and the way I feel this enormous sense of pride and gratitude that I am a part of something very special happening here every day. Football is my passion. The Giants are my family.

Coach's Corner: David Merritt

Rounding out his 13th season with the team, secondary/safeties coach David Merritt has walked the Giants halls for quite some time as the longest-tenured coach on staff. Winning two Super Bowls with the Giants, Coach Merritt is grateful and proud to be part of such a tremendous organization, and we’re thankful that he was able to take some time out of his busy playoff schedule to chat with us! Check out this month’s Coach’s Corner series below:

What is your favorite part about being a football coach?

Being around the players in the classroom and on the field. I love it when I’m able to pass along what I’ve learned over the years to the current youngsters. Antrel Rolle nicknamed me “OBC” for Old Ball Coach, and the current players call me that still!

What was the most exciting moment in your career as a football coach?

Winning Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI with the Giants. Winning the first one was special because my wife and I returned to Arizona for Super Bowl 42 where I played for the Cardinals. The second championship was special because Indianapolis is a place where us coaches visit every year for the NFL Combine. Each year brings back fond memories.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

Buddy Green, Ted Cottrell and Jimmy Raye. Buddy gave me my first coaching job and was my college defensive coordinator at NC State. Ted gave me my first professional coaching job and was my linebackers coach when I played in Arizona. Jimmy is like a dad! We coached together at the Jets, and we spend quality time together each summer in Pinehurst, NC.

Who is or was your favorite player to coach and why?

I’ve had many, but if I had to select just one, it would be Antrel Rolle. Antrel and I clashed his first year after we played an early game in 2010. If I recall correctly, Antrel won NFC Player of the Week one game, but I was tough on him after the game because I felt he could have done better. Now the fans’ and media’s view of an NFL game vs. coaches are completely different! Antrel was receiving praise from around the league from everyone but not his coach. I do remember he got upset because of his grade sheet and wouldn’t speak to me for a few days, but I never compromised our defensive backs standards. After that incident, Antrel and I became closer than any other player I’ve ever coached! He felt I was always going to be upfront and honest with him about his performance from that point on. He and I would communicate via text, phone calls, in person, etc. After the Eagles game a couple of weeks ago, he texted me around 1:00 AM wanting to know the coverage we played on the TD pass. Positive, honest relationships in life and business is everything! My relationship with Antrel goes deeper than football – he’s a friend!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I’ve ever been given was from my wife Yolonda Nicole Smith-Merritt. She sensed early in my coaching career that I could reach players in a more positive way if I would build a relationship first and ball second! I’ve slipped from time to time, but I truly feel I’ve done a pretty good job in this area. Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care about them. Any coach can stand in front of the room and talk X’s and O’s, but it takes relationships to reach young men when things are going well in life and at work.

If you could coach a different position group, which would it be and why?

I love the group I coach now. Being a former NFL linebacker, I’ve always seen myself as a linebacker’s coach. When coach Tom Coughlin promoted me back in 2006 from assistant linebacker’s coach to defensive backs, I thought he was nuts! He looked me directly in the eyes when I tried to back away from the promotion and said, “I know a good coach when I see one. You will coach defensive backs and that’s that!” Now, fast forward 11 years and 2 championships later, maybe he knew something that I never could see myself.

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

I’m truly working my dream job as we speak! At the end of the 2008 season, John Mara and I were downstairs in the old stadium in the cafeteria passing by one another and words were exchanged. Upon shaking his hand, I said, “Mr. Mara, I’ll be at the Giants as long as you will have me and my family here.” Thank you for a lifetime opportunity!

Special hobbies? Hidden talents?

Golf, golf and more golf! Hidden talent would be… I can make music with my mouth! We called it beat boxing when I was young!

Fun facts?

You’ll have to contact my wife and kids on that one!!!

Thank you Coach Merritt for sitting down with us – we are wishing you much luck in the playoffs!

Player Profile: Brad Wing

We’ve had a lot of great interviews with Giants players on offense and defense but wanted to change it up with a special teams player this time! For this month’s Player Profile series, we interviewed Giants punter Brad Wing. Brad hails from Australia and while his accent has begun to fade (he actually managed to pick up a bit of a southern twang while attending LSU!), there’s no doubt he’s proud of his Australian roots. Check out the exclusive interview below:

Do you have any game day rituals?

I do! I have to touch the top of a door rail on the door that leads out to any field.

What’s your favorite pump up song?

My favorite pump up song is In the Air Tonight by Phil Collins – good one, right?!

What does your game day routine look like?

So we start at the pregame meal – I go and get a waffle if it’s a 1:00 PM game. If it’s a night game, I get some pasta. From there we head to the stadium. Once there, I get changed, go out to the field, warm up, get a feel for the stadium and feel the weather. Then I come in, get fully dressed for the game, go back out, and that’s when the game starts!

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

I look up to Michael Jordan just because he was so good at what he did, and he’s still relevant. It’s so hard to find someone that’s still relevant so long after they’ve been playing, so I have to go with Michael Jordan.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“The quality of your life is determined by the people you surround yourself with.” I can’t remember who told me that, but it’s probably the best advice I’ve ever received.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I don’t know if I have any hidden talents – they’re so hidden, I don’t even know about them! Oh wait, actually I can play the drums! Back in the day when I was 12 years old, I was in a band, and we played a lot of Blink 182. That was my stuff – just a lot of Blink 182!

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

If I could play any other sport, I would play basketball just because they play often but not as much as baseball, so you get a bit of a rest. Also, I feel like it’s one of the more entertaining sports when it gets to the post season.

What are your hobbies?

I secretly like DJing – I have DJ gear, and I love music, so I kind of just play around. I try to do everything – all kinds of stuff except country. Country and DJing don’t go together very well.

Fun fact about Brad:

He was the first player in college history to get a taunting penalty and get the touchdown called back! They had just implemented the rule that year, and he ran a touchdown in when he was in college on a fake punt. He celebrated just a touch early, and they threw the flag, so the touchdown didn’t count!

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Brad! The Giants Women’s Club wishes you luck during this last month of the regular season!

Member Moment: Katie Werrell

For this month’s Member Moment series, we jumped at the chance to interview Katie Werrell, the fun, energetic and of course, diehard Giants fan and Women’s Club member. While she may hail from Eagle territory, Katie bleeds blue and makes sure everyone knows it!

We love being around her at Giants events, and her loyalty to the team is always unmatched, making her a great person to interview! Check it out below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I've been a Giants fan for as long back as I can remember. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, but my dad was raised in North Jersey. When people ask, "Why are you a Giants fan if you're from Philly?"

I always respond, "My dad raised me right!"

Do you have any game day rituals or superstitions?

When the Giants won the Super Bowl in the 2011 season I wore the same t-shirt, without washing it, for the entire post-season. I'm still pretty convinced it had something to do with the win.

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My favorite Giants player of all time has to be Osi Umenyiora. I do have to admit, I was also a big fan of Jeremy Shockey during his time with the Giants.

Where do you watch Giants games?

The best place to watch the games is of course from a seat at MetLife Stadium, but I enjoy watching the games pretty much anywhere.

I always love the games most when I'm with my dad, brothers, uncle and cousins who all share my passion for the Big Blue.

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

I am proud to be a supporter of such a strong organization, and hearing the things the team and coaches do off the field for the local community makes it that much better!

It doesn't hurt to have been able to witness a few Super Bowl wins in my time either!

What are you looking forward to most this football season?

I recently moved to New York City, so I am really excited to finally be able to enjoy this season surrounded by the best fans in the NFL! Go Giants!

Welcome to Big Blue Nation Katie, and thanks for interviewing with us!

Ladies in the Limelight

We were so excited to interview Jessica Hall this month for the Ladies in the Limelight series. Jessica is the wife of Giants cornerback Leon Hall, and though they’ve spent the past 9 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, we are happy to have them here in Giants nation!

Check out the exclusive interview below:

How did you and Leon meet?

Leon and I met during freshman year of college during “Welcome Week”.

Do you have any special game day rituals?

On game days, I ask him to call me before he turns his mobile off, and I always tell him to have a good game (we’ve done this since college!). Also, our sons Leon, Christien-Blake and Graham-Alexander always wear Giants pajamas on Saturday nights!

Are there any causes that are important to you and/or Leon?

Leon and I started the Leon Hall Foundation 7 years ago, and our main focus is young boys mainly from single parent households. We have strongly supported the Children’s Home of Northern Kentucky, an orphanage for boys who are wardens of the state ranging in ages 7-18. The past two years, we’ve begun to also incorporate women and young girls by supporting two local Cincinnati charities, Kenzie’s Closet and Women Helping Women. We strongly believe in supporting local charities because we are able to directly help, encourage and impact boys, girls, men and women.

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

I love to work out when I have the time, but I usually run about 3-4 miles and do strength training.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Hidden talents – that’s a tough one! I was classically trained in the piano for 10 years growing up and also sang in the choir.

Occupation?

I was a news reporter in Detroit before getting married and moving to Cincinnati with Leon when he was drafted. From there, I immersed myself in charity work and have since dedicated my “career” as a domestic engineer and the Leon Hall Foundation.

Thank you Jessica for such a great interview, and we welcome you and Leon to the New York Giants!

The G-Women: Jackie Lepow

For our newest interview series, The G-Women, we bring you inside the Quest Diagnostics Training Center to meet the ladies who work for the New York Football Giants. While we bleed blue, our investment in the organization goes far beyond being huge fans. We come to work every day to help make your Giants the very best organization it can be. We hope you enjoy learning a little bit about our female employees, and we are excited to kick it off in the Ticket Office with Jackie Lepow! Check it out below:

Name:

Jackie Lepow

Department:

Ticket Office

What does your job entail?

Customer service to anyone who calls the ticket office.

How long have you worked for the Giants?

Since 1988

Tell us about your journey with the team.

Geeze, my journey... It all began when I graduated from Katherine Gibbs Secretarial School. The school sent me on an interview with a local sports club. I didn’t know who prior to the interview. I interviewed with the company that owned the luxury suites in Giants Stadium. That company was called Stadium Operations, and it was owned by Mr. Tim Mara. That was back in 1986. Since it was a separate company, I wasn’t part of the Giants organization, but when Mr. Mara sold the company, I was able to interview for a position in public relations. When I was informed that I got the job, I couldn’t believe that I was actually going to work for a sports team! My responsibilities consisted of community relations work, working with the media and handling game day credentials. I worked on game day in the press box checking the writers in and assisting with any issues they might have. I assisted in working on the play by play stats that were handed out to the press during the game. As time went on my responsibilities changed. I worked in our marketing department before I moved out of CR/PR. I moved into our Administration department, placing orders for the company and coordinating shipping and receiving. I also assisted in working with the team’s travel coordinator, along with other administrative duties. Along with wearing my CR/PR and Marketing hats, I also wore my administrative assistant coaching hat. I assisted in putting together the offensive playbook while working with the assistant coaches under Coach Coughlin. Currently, I am in the ticket office working with our season ticket holders, helping them with their ticket account and any issues they might have.

Have you always been a Giants fan?

Yes! It began with my dad. He worked for Prudential Insurance Company in Newark, NJ at the time the stadium was being built. Somehow Prudential was involved with the building of the stadium or put up bonds for it. So at that time, either Prudential employees were offered season tickets or certain individuals were offered tickets, but my father jumped on the offer and became a ticket holder then. So as the saying goes, the tickets were passed on down the line!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

It changes from play to play!

Do you have any game day rituals? Are you superstitious?

No rituals to speak of – the only superstition I have is when we have played our championship games away, I had to sit in my spot on the couch with my good friend sitting next to me eating Hooters wings!

What’s your fondest memory with the team?

Getting hired!

What’s the coolest place you got to travel to with the Giants?

Hmm let’s see… Berlin, Germany; London, England; and 3 Super Bowl trips!

What do you like most about working for the Giants?

What I like most about working for the Giants are all my experiences over the years. All the wins, losses and the traveling. All the people – from the players, coaches, the football staff, front office and, yes, even the media. All of it gets wrapped up into my experiences, none of which I would have had if not working for the Giants.

Coach's Corner: Tom Quinn

Entering his 11th season with the team, Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn is no stranger to the Football Giants. With two Giants Super Bowl wins under his belt, Coach Quinn wears his love, intensity and dedication to the game on his blue sleeve. We were so thankful that he made some time for us during Training Camp and hope you enjoy this Coach’s Corner series.

What is your favorite part about being a football coach?

My favorite part about being a football coach is the teaching aspect of it. You like to be able to install it, then see it, work it during the week and then it come to fruition on Sunday.

What was the most exciting moment in your career as a football coach?

The most exciting moment was winning the two championship games and realizing that you’re going to the Super Bowl. Very memorable.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

I’d say Tom Coughlin is a huge mentor and role model in my life – he gave me the first opportunity to coach in the NFL. Also, my dad was a high school coach, so that’s kind of where I got my coaching start, and Tom really finished it off.

Who is or was your favorite player to coach and why?

Favorite player to coach… that’s a hard one. There are so many good ones to pick from. Chase Blackburn and Domenik Hixon were really good team guys. Then you got Mark Herzlich, Orleans Darkwa, Dwayne Harris – probably too many to choose from. I’ve enjoyed all the specialists that we’ve had here – Lawrence Tynes and Jeff Feagles were really good, and Zak DeOssie’s been here with me the whole time, so it’s been good with all the different players.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Focus on your job at hand, and do the best job you can.

If you could coach a different position group, which would it be and why?

I coached linebackers in college and tight ends – it would probably be tight ends because you get to work with the pass game and the run game. That would be something that would be interesting.

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

I’d probably be a teacher – a high school teacher. I got my Master’s degree as a reading specialist but probably something with history or social studies

Thank you Coach Quinn for sitting down with us! We wish you much luck this football season!

Player Profile: Kerry Wynn

Even though it’s the summer and our players are off until training camp, we were excited to be able to squeeze in an interview with Giants DE Kerry Wynn. Kerry has had quite the active off-season, hosting a 3-day football camp in his hometown and keeping up with his offseason workouts but still making sure to go on vacation in beautiful Costa Rica! Check out the exclusive interview below:

Do you have any game day rituals?

I don’t really have any game day rituals other than the music I play. From when I wake up in the morning up to an hour before I go out for pregame warm ups, I listen to gospel music on Pandora. Then just before I go out to the field, I listen to rap.

What’s your favorite pump up song?

Sky’s the Limit by Lil’ Wayne

What does your game day routine look like?

My game day routine consists of mainly stretching and relaxing up until when I have to go out onto the field. I don’t go out before pregame warm ups.

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

I looked up to a few veteran defensive linemen when I first got into the league – guys like Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers and Cullen Jenkins, who all kind of took me under their wings and showed me the ropes.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

One piece of advice that I received from Cullen Jenkins, a former undrafted player, was to never be content with just making the team. I always remember that because what it meant to me was to always strive to get better and never get complacent.

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

If I could play any other sport, it would be basketball first and soccer is close behind. Most of my life, I played both sports, and if I didn’t play in the NFL, I’d love to be able to play for the Lakers (my favorite NBA team) or overseas where soccer is the most competitive.

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Kerry! We hope you enjoy the rest of your offseason!

Member Moment: Gina Angiolillo

For this month’s Member Moment series, we interviewed Gina Angiolillo, one of our most fun, spirited and diehard Giants fan in The Giants Women’s Club! You can’t miss Gina at our events because she’s front row, jumping right in on the fun and always super involved. Her energy and enthusiasm for the Giants is what makes us proud to know her and we hope you enjoy getting to know her too! Check it out below:

How and when did you first become a Giants fan?

I came out the womb as a Big Blue fan! But, on a more serious note, I grew up as an athlete and always had a passion for sports. If I was able to play football I would have. The only thing close to me playing football was on my neighbors front lawn playing two-hand touch and "kill the carrier". My father, both grandfathers and brother were always loyal fans and they wouldn’t have wanted anything less than for me to follow in their footsteps! I remember sitting on the couch with my grandfather and pops watching the NY Giants win Super Bowl XXV. I was always asking them questions because I was eager to learn the game. I began understanding and watching the NY Giants religiously at the age of 10.

Do you have any game day rituals?

Where do I begin... as a season ticket holder, I tailgate every home game with my family and friends. It is a must that we park in the same spot each game right near the racetrack. It is also important that we huddle, salute and cheers to a Giants win before entering the stadium. When the Giants are away, my family members and I always sit in the same spot on the couch to watch the game. During football season, my Sundays are solely dedicated to football!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

I would have to say my all-time favorite player is Osi Umenyiora, who spent ten years in a Giants uniform. Being able to watch him win two Super Bowls in both 2007 and 2011 with the Giants franchise was incredible! He tore it up on defense! He was a part of one of the greatest defenses we've had and seen! Now, my eyes have been on the legendary OBJ since the day he was our number one draft pick in 2014. I admire his athletic abilities, drive, enthusiasm and passion for the game. I am always eager to see his performance and what he brings to the playing field each game. He leaves me in suspense every time he's on the field because you never know what he'll excite us with!

Where do you watch Giants games?

Giants Sundays are family Sundays! Every home game my family and I are in our Giants themed camper in the stadium parking lot... starting our tailgate at 8:00 am for 1:00 pm games. As a season ticket holder, it is an amazing feeling to have my own seat inside the stadium and be able to watch every home game! The thrill of being a part of the crowd and amongst millions of Giants fans who are always on their feet and cheering until we have no voice is more exciting than anything else! I have also made trips to Tampa, Foxboro, Philly and Baltimore to watch a few road games. In the future, I hope to venture out to other cities. But normallyfor away games,we gather at my parents’ house. I can’t watch away games anywhere else than on my assigned "spot" on the couch because I need to focus and pay attention to every single play and drive! I can’t miss a beat!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

My favorite part about being a Giants fan is being a part of a franchise that represents honor, class, perseverance, dignity and pride. I admire how much the organization thrives in community outreach and with various charities. It really inspires me to give back to my community and help those in need. I also love how I am able to be a part of this Women's Club because it makes me feel like I’m literally connected to the team! I enjoy meeting new people, learning new things and attending the interactive events that are offered. I love representing Big Blue in any way that I can. Whether it’s rocking my Giants jersey or the extensive amount of apparel I own, laying with my Giants blanket or drinking out of my Giants mug, I will always Bleed Blue!

What are you looking forward to most this football season?

How many more days until kickoff?! I am eager to see what lies ahead this season and I hope the new coach will follow in the footsteps of TC and lead us to another championship ring. I hope our new draft picks excel and become stars, and I would love to see Sterling Shepard out there in the mix with Cruz and OBJ! I am looking forward to a challenging and competitive season and opening up in Dallas again! I am definitely going to miss seeing TC out there on the sideline! But like they always say, "Once a Giant, always a Giant"!

Gina, we are so honored to have you as a member of the Giants Women’s Club and we thank you for your continued support of our team!

Ladies in the Limelight: Marlee Richburg

For this month’s Ladies in the Limelight series, we headed to the offense for an interview with Marlee Richburg, wife of offensive lineman Weston Richburg. A former college volleyball star at Colorado State, this Texas girl is learning to navigate the tristate area and enjoying life as a newlywed! Check out the exclusive interview below:

How did you and Weston meet?

Weston and I met at Colorado State University. As athletes you tend to hang around the same group of people and that is just what Weston and I did - we had the same friend group. We met my true freshman year but never really talked or got to know each other and the summer going into my redshirt freshman year we started to talk more, hang out some and that led to us dating. It’s crazy because we grew up an hour away from each other, both small towns in Texas, our high schools would play each other in sports and it took us going to CSU for us to meet each other.

Do you have any special game day rituals?

During home games, I start my day off by going to church (usually wearing some sort of Giants gear or colors) and I usually shoot Weston a motivational/good luck text. Away games, again, I go to church that morning and I like to watch the games at home with just me and our dog, Bocephus… he doesn’t judge my yelling at the TV.

Are there any causes that are important to you?

Since we both come from agriculture families and communities, we try to give back to the local FFA/4H clubs.

Do you and Weston have any special hobbies?

During the offseason we spend the majority of the time in Arizona so Weston has gotten into golfing and I am also trying to pick up the sport. We enjoy going to sporting events together ranging from basketball games to golf tournaments to WWE wrestling matches.

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

I really enjoy going to the gym and getting a good sweat in 5-6 times a week. I enjoy lifting weights and have come to enjoy doing cardio. I like to try and mix up my routines throughout the week so I don’t get too bored with what I am doing. I also enjoy taking our dog on long walks or runs.

Do you have any hidden talents?

I played volleyball at the collegiate level, I can knit, and I enjoy baking/cooking old recipes that have been passed down in my family.

Occupation?

I am a stay at home wife and I attend Colorado Christian University where I am getting my masters in counseling.

Marlee, thank you so much for giving us the chance to interview you – we loved hearing about you and Weston!

Coach’s Corner: Ben McAdoo

It’s been a whirlwind of an offseason here in Giants nation and now that the dust has settled, we jumped on the opportunity to interview the Giants new head coach, Ben McAdoo in this exclusive Coach’s Corner series. Coach McAdoo, who was previously the Giants offensive coordinator, officially took the realm in New York and has already been settling into his new role.

What is your coaching philosophy as the head coach of the Giants?

There are 4 elements to every successful organization and professional football, although very different, is similar in a lot of ways. The 4 elements are 1) developing strong leadership, 2) surrounding your program with talented men and women of integrity, 3) creating a positive work environment, 4) incorporating comprehensive structure and function.

What is your favorite part about being a football coach?

There are 3 reasons “WHY” I coach for a living… 1) I am a teacher by trade and heart, so seeing a player improve at his or her craft drives me. 2) Sacrificing everything in your life with a group of men and women to prepare for one common goal is tremendously challenging and rewarding. 3) The scoreboard! Very few professions have a test at the end of each week that is a pass/fail for all the world to see.

What was the most exciting moment in your career as a football coach?

Embracing my wife, Toni, and daughter, Larkin, as the confetti fell to the turf at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLV in Dallas, Texas when we were crowned world champions.

Do you have any mentors or role models?

I have plenty of mentors. Mike McCarthy, Tom Coughlin, Joe Philbin, Tom Clements & Bob LaMonte to name a few.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

The best advice I’ve been given stands as the Governing Rule in our office and my home… “Go about your business the right way. Do what you are supposed to do. When you are supposed to do it. As well as you possibly can. All of the time.”

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I pinch myself as I drive to the office each and every day, but if I had to choose… This may surprise you, but Financial Planner. Building a portfolio is a lot like building a team. 1) Generate your philosophy and set the plan or asset allocation. 2) Avoid all knee jerk reactions to the highs and lows that come with the good and bad times. 3) Evaluate your plan frequently based off of a thorough process of evaluation. 4) Stick with your philosophy and fundamentals, be comfortable with who you are and don’t outsmart your common sense.

Thank you Coach McAdoo for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with us. The Giants Women’s Club wishes you luck this year in your new coaching position and look forward to watching you lead our team!

Player Profile: Devon Kennard

For this month’s Player Profile series, we looked to the defense this time and sat down with Giants linebacker, Devon Kennard. Drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, this 24 year old is quick, athletic and not to mention, very smart – Devon graduated from USC in 2012, maintaining the team’s highest GPA and recently received a Master’s degree. Check out the exclusive interview below:

Do you have any game day rituals?

Honestly, I try not to do the same thing every game because then I get superstitious and I’ll start thinking I messed something up. I think I intentionally try to switch stuff up a bit!

What’s your favorite pump up song?

Dreams and Nightmares by Meek Mill

What does your game day routine look like?

Let’s see… I wake up in the morning and listen to gospel music, especially since we play on a Sunday most of the time. I take a quick shower, eat my pregame meal and head over to the stadium. I always make sure to warm up well and get some extra pregame treatment in – then I’m ready to go!

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

I grew up a big Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Ray Lewis fan. I just admired their intensity and how they played the game.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Don’t get too high on the highs and low on the lows.

Do you have any hidden talents?

Well, my family would disagree, but I love to sing and think when I sing I sound like Usher… whether it’s true or not I don’t know!

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

Basketball – I grew up loving it and it would always help with my athleticism. But then, I stopped getting taller and thought maybe basketball isn’t my thing!

Fun fact about Devon: Did you know that Devon’s father, Derek Kennard, played in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals, New Orleans Saints and Dallas Cowboys? In fact, he was part of the Cowboys Super Bowl XXX winning team for the 1995 football season.

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Devon! The Giants Women’s Club wishes you luck this upcoming football season!

Member Moment: Donnella Bruno

For this month’s Member Moment series, we interviewed Donnella Bruno, one of our most active members of The Giants Women’s Club, coming to almost every event that we host! Donnella is a huge Giants fan and rocks her Big Blue gear whenever she has the chance! We loved getting to know her better and hope you do too! Check it out below:

How did you first become a Giants fan?

I became a Giants fan through my husband who has been a Loyal Blue fan since I’ve known him. In the beginning it wasn’t easy; I knew nothing about the game but I loved watching how family and friends came together to root for their favorite team. “Let’s go Big Blue!” they would yell and scream! I thought it was the perfect way to spend quality time and not just on holidays. With my husband’s coaching and the eagerness of wanting to know the aspects of the game, I was a beginner who became excited once I started learning and understanding the rules and the plays.

I never thought I would grow to love the sport as much as I do. I am a New York girl born and raised and with some of the most exceptional and irreplaceable players throughout the years that have given us a Giant adventure, how could I not represent Big Blue?!

Who is your favorite Giants player?

My favorite player is Brandon Jacobs, #27; Mr. Powerful that’s what I called him. Jacobs loved being a New York Giant. He tried, but playing for any other team just would not do. The large running back caught my eye with his rushing touchdowns and the fear he placed on defense who knew he would be coming like a freight train! It was entertaining to watch him break tackles and see the difficulty of bringing him down.

Before retiring his cleats, Jacobs left his mark with 60 rushing touchdowns and rushed 5,087 yards – the fourth highest total in franchise history – and contributed in winning two Super Bowl titles both against the Patriots.

Where do you watch Giants games?

When I get the opportunity, I am occupying a seat in the stands at MetLife Stadium watching and rooting for my team with an occasional wave. I have the best of both worlds;

I am employed with MetLife Stadium so I get the opportunity to be in Blue Country watching and on top of the game while I create a Giants experience for our visiting guest. There is no better place to be! If the team is having a game away, you’ll find me at home in front of the screen relaxing and watching the G-Men!

Why do you love being a Giants fan?

I love what being a Giants fan represents: loyalty, dedication, the importance of helping others and following in the footsteps of an organization that believes caring is sharing. As a Giants fan, I have had the opportunity to meet extraordinary people from my home state and across the country from different backgrounds who have something in common.

We come together to bond like family, and in the name of Big Blue, set out on missions to feed and clothe the homeless, organize school supplies and toy drives and help out one of its own fellow team fans who may be facing a challenge. Through it all, Giants fans don’t forget to set aside special times to celebrate the G-Men by spreading some good ole’ blue cheer.

Thank you Donnella for taking the time to speak with us and of course for your support of the Giants! We’re proud to have you as a member of The Giants Women’s Club!

Ladies in the Limelight: Kate DeOssie

We were so blown away by our interview with Kate DeOssie, the brilliant, hard-working and adorable wife to long snapper Zak DeOssie, that we couldn’t wait to share it with you all! Kate has achieved incredible successes as an entrepreneur and of course, as a mom to son Lukas, and we were truly honored to get to know her better. Enjoy!

How did you and Zak meet?

Zak and I both made the very important decision, several years before we met, to attend the best college in the world, Brown University. He was one year ahead of me, and while we didn't know each other well while we were there, we were friendly and loosely kept in touch. After graduating, we both wound up in New York but lived pretty separate lives until the following year, when we ran into each other at Campus Dance (Brown's annual alumni reunion event on commencement weekend). He threatened me with a dance-off, and after I crushed him with my moves (ok, he definitely won), he asked me on a date. The rest is history!

Do you have any special game day rituals?

I'm not remotely superstitious, but I learned pretty early-on with Zak that even the illusion of control can make the silliness worth it, especially when the stakes are high. I've also been told that I give a pitiful game day pep talk, so rituals are pretty much all I can contribute. But unfortunately, the details are top secret, or else they could backfire and I would be on the line for the consequences. Ritual responsibly.

Are there any causes that are important to you?

There are several important causes that we enthusiastically support, but Zak and I are especially involved in America Needs You NJ, where we have served on the Board for almost 4 years. America Needs You fights for economic mobility for ambitious, low-income, first-generation college students (the first in their family to go to college). They provide transformative 1-to-1 mentorship and intensive career development to the students, called Fellows, and coach them over the course of two years to ensure they persist in and graduate from college, and successfully enter careers in the fields that best align with their professional ambitions. The organization has top-notch leadership, expanding nationally and achieving truly outstanding results - they just received a 2015 Nonprofit Excellence Award! We feel so fortunate to be part of an organization doing such great work, supporting very deserving young people, and having a meaningful impact on their lives.

Occupation?

Five years ago, I left a young career in the financial industry to start CareerGoggles, a career strategy consulting company. I founded it with one other partner, who also happens to be my amazing mother, to fill an important need we saw in the career space. We focus on professional branding, strategic communication and career advancement, which is jargon for working with individuals who are facing career transitions, to help them reach new professional heights. That might mean maximizing internal opportunities at their current company, navigating a complex political environment, switching their function or industry at a peak point in their career, or otherwise positioning them for a more rewarding professional life. Our clients range from recent college graduates to C-level executives, and span industries including finance, legal, healthcare, technology and media (just to name a few). There are no straight-line circumstances or cookie-cutter solutions, and many of our clients are facing brand-new challenges, from stay-at-home parents returning to the workforce, to professional athletes transitioning to their second career. We have developed wonderful, long-term relationships with many of our clients - and in some cases, have started with one client and wound up working with their whole family! So, it's tremendously rewarding and a lot of fun. We also work intensively with select graduating high school students on their college applications, to help them identify what they bring to the table, and to communicate that strategically in the limited application space, so that they present the most compelling portrait of their candidacy for their target schools. I feel so lucky to love what I do - alongside my mother, who has been my greatest mentor, and our incredibly accomplished and inspiring clients, who we feel genuinely honored to work with as they look to accomplish their highest career goals.

Do you and Zak have any special hobbies?

Not sure these count as special hobbies, but we love traveling, and have a long list of countries we hope to immerse ourselves in at some point (read: when our toddler is in college). Until then, we spend the rare free night discovering great new restaurants and "unique" (weird) date night activities in New York. We also revel in the nights when we can hang out at home with our son, order dinner in, and watch a great movie or play cards (we have a years-long, heated Rummy rivalry, and I'd like the record to reflect that I'm currently in the lead).

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

Not as much as I should! I can't pretend to be a fitness junkie, but I sit at a desk all day, so I try to get out and be somewhat active every day, even if it's just a long walk with the baby and the dog - and then set a goal of three "real" work outs per week. That usually means one day at the gym, one yoga class, and one day where I put on workout clothes and think hard about going to a barre class, but procrastinate until it's too late and order pizza instead!

Kate, we loved having the chance to hear from you and are so glad you and Zak are a part of the team!

Coach's Corner: Mike Sullivan

In our first Coach’s Corner series, we were lucky enough to interview Mike Sullivan, the Giants Quarterbacks coach who has won 2 Super Bowls with the Giants (XLII & XLVI) and has been with the team for a total of 7 seasons. Coach Sullivan is a West Point graduate and as we celebrate the NFL’s military appreciation month, we remain proud of his service to our country and are honored to have him on our team!

What is your favorite part about being a football coach?Coach Mike Sullivan

It would have to be the relationships with the other coaches and players. I really enjoy the camaraderie and sense of brotherhood that develops as we all work hard to achieve a common goal.

What does your game day routine look like?

I usually workout early in the day --- really helps to clear my mind and get me ready for the game... When I get to the stadium, I put on headphones and listen to music while I watch opponent film on my iPad. I’m up in the press box during the game, and it’s a bird’s eye view of all 22 players so I like to watch opponent film all the way up until the time I go out for pre-game warmups to help prepare myself.

During the game, I communicate with the offensive coaches on the field about defensive tendencies --- how are they playing us and how do we want to attack them. In order to talk to Eli, I have to ring him up on the player telephone. Halftime is a blur --- fast meetings with the other offensive coaches, a quick face-to-face with Eli, and then it’s back up to the press box.

And at the end of the game, there’s not a whole lot better than riding the elevator down after a Big Blue WIN.

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It’s my addiction. I train with Erik Tavares at Bullshark MMA in Emerson. He’s the BEST!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

My mom gave me a copy of the poem ‘Ithaca’ by Constantine Cavafy, and it’s been a great source of inspiration for a long time. Essentially, it’s about enjoying every step of the journey and taking in every moment. The journey really is more important than the destination…

If you could have any other job, what would it be and why?

There really is no other job that I would want. I love what I do!

What was the most exciting moment in your career as a football coach?

There were two: Super Bowl XLII and Super Bowl XLVI. Words can’t describe the excitement, joy and satisfaction of being World Champions!!!

Thank you, Coach Sullivan, for taking the time out of your very busy schedule to tell us a little bit about yourself. We wish you luck this season and thank you again for your service to our country!

Player Profile: Shane Vereen

For our first Player Profile series, we interviewed Giants running back Shane Vereen, who was signed to the Giants roster this year after playing for the New England Patriots. While this fast, smart and competitive football player is only 26 years old, his 4 years in the NFL has guided him toward winning a Super Bowl last year and continuing his football career with the Giants. Check out the exclusive interview below:

Do you have any game day rituals?

Well, the night before a game, I have to eat Panda Express for dinner. On the day of a game, I have to put my left sock on first, then my right sock and then my right shoe on first, then my left shoe. I know it’s weird, but it’s something I’ve done for a while now!

What’s your favorite pump up song?

I actually have a whole pump up playlist for game day, but out of all those songs, my favorite would have to be California Love by Tupac.

Are there any athletes that you look up to?

Absolutely. I wear jersey number 34 for former Chicago Bears player and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Walter Payton. I also looked up to Michael Johnson, former American Olympic sprinter – he had the awesome gold shoes!

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

“If you do it right the first time, you won’t have to do it again.” My dad always used to tell me that. When he’d tell me to clean my room over and over again, he’d say if you just did it the first time you wouldn’t have to keep doing it!

Do you have any hidden talents?

Not really, but I did play the trumpet in the middle school band!

If you could play any other sport, what sport would you play and why?

I’d probably play soccer for a European team because the vibe reminds me of football. The big crowds, the environment, lots of fans – it just reminds me of football here.

Fun fact about Shane:

Athleticism, especially with football, seems to run in the Vereen family! Shane’s younger brother, Brock, was drafted in 2014 by the Chicago Bears and was just signed by the Minnesota Vikings. Additionally, Shane’s father, Henry, was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1979 and played in the Canadian Football League for the BC Lions.

Thanks for allowing us to interview you, Shane!

The Giants Women’s Club welcomes you to the team and wishes you luck this football season!

Member Moment: Linda Sleezer

For our first Member Moment series, we sat down with Linda Sleezer, an avid Giants fan and active member of The Giants Women’s Club! The first time we met Linda at a Giants event, she was dressed from head to toe (literally) in Giants gear (you have to check out her Giants wedges!) and has even gone so far as to cut her Florida vacation short and change her flight home in order to make it to a Women’s Club event! Linda is a proud member of the club and die-hard Giants fan and we loved having the opportunity to interview her! Check it out below:

When did you first become a Giants fan?

Technically, I was born a Giants fan! I always remember watching games on TV when I was growing up. At about age 13 or so, I started attending games and that’s when I really started to get into the game by asking questions and truly following the game. I guess that’s about the time you could say I became a true fan.

Do you have any game day rituals?

I wouldn’t say I have any specific rituals on game days, but I do wear as much BLUE as possible, right down to my Giants jeans and shoes!

Who is your favorite player?

With so many great players, it’s hard to choose just one. Odell Beckham Jr. is a remarkable athlete and is so entertaining to watch. Victor Cruz is another player with such talent and who has had some astounding plays for the team. They are undeniably two top players for me right now.

Where do you watch Giants games?

I try to go to as many games as possible - there’s really nothing like being at a New York Giants football game! When I can’t make it to a game, it’s either at home on the big screen or somewhere out that has big screens and the sound to the game (a must)!

What is your favorite part about being a Giants fan?

The New York Giants organization as a whole is incredible and there is no other organization like it, which makes being a Giants fan that much better! One of my favorite things about the Giants is how much they give back. They are involved in community service events and fundraisers all the time. They also host some of the best fan events ever! The Giant’s Women’s Club is one of my new favorite parts about being a Giants fan! This club has allowed me to attend some unforgettable events as well as meet some fellow women Giants fans! In addition to that, collecting everything Giants I possibly can and getting to cheer for the G-MEN each week during football season is my favorite part about being a Giants fan!

What are you looking forward to most this season?

Other than looking forward to the fact that football is back, I’m really looking forward to seeing Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. both HEALTHY and playing TOGETHER on the same field, at the same time! I think they are going to be a combination that can truly be a game changer for the Giants. With two exceptional wide receivers on the field, they can’t both be double or triple covered, which presents the opportunity for plays down the field! I’m excited to see what plays Coach Coughlin has up his sleeve for these two!

Thanks for sharing your Giants spirit with us, Linda and for all your support of The Giants Women’s Club! Your love for the team shines and we were so glad to showcase that!

Ladies in the Limelight: Danielle Herzlich

For our first Ladies in the Limelight series, we got the chance to interview Danielle Herzlich - the fun, athletic and Boston-loving wife of Giants linebacker, Mark Herzlich. Danielle and Mark just got married in May and while the newlyweds are surely busy, we’re glad she was able to set some time aside for us. See below!

How did you and Mark meet?

Mark and I met at a bar called Who's On First right outside Fenway Park. We were both at a Boston College Halloween party. I was dressed as a cowgirl and Mark was dressed as Mr. Clean....at the time we met, Mark was battling Ewings Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. We were friends for a long time before we started officially dating which ended up being awesome because he truly is my best friend...sounds so corny but it's true! (If anyone wants the full story you should read Mark's book, What It Takes!)

Do you have any special game day rituals?

Mark may be able to answer this question better...I certainly don't. I meet him in the parking lot before the game to make sure we say I love you in person before he heads to the locker room for warm ups.

Also, every single game I'm at when I watch him run out of the tunnel I cry because I still cannot believe what a miracle it is for him to be playing the sport he loves so much. I guess that's a pre-game ritual for me!

Do you and Mark have any special hobbies?

Anything that involves being with our dogs, Champ and Scout (English Bulldogs)...when we are both not working, our lives revolve around being with them. We also love going out to eat and trying new restaurants and also anything that involves physical fitness. We're both basically psychos when it comes to working out!

What do you like to do to keep in shape?

Mark and I work out like crazy. We have 2 gyms in our home - one in the garage and one in the basement. I am a personal trainer - mostly CrossFit type exercises. We love to work out together, whether it's taking our dogs for a walk, hiking, going for a run, doing a CrossFit WOD....we just love being active and doing it together.

Thanks for letting us into your life, Danielle and congratulations to you and Mark on your wedding! The Giants Women’s Club wishes you both lots of love and happiness together!

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