The Giants didn't want to lay an egg with Michael Strahan in the house. They certainly didn't want to do it defensively, and they absolutely didn't want to do it against the rival Eagles.
They made No. 92 proud.
The Hall of Famer, who had 21.5 of his franchise-record 141.5 sacks against Philadelphia, took the stage for his jersey retirement ceremony with the Giants holding a 10-0 halftime lead. They wouldn't give up a point until the first play of the fourth quarter as they held on for a 13-7 victory, improving to 4-7 overall on the season and 4-0 in division home games in the Joe Judge era.
"We're always big on the history of the organization," Judge said after the game. "We talk about the area, the people we represent and the history of the organization who came before us in terms of who we represent. When you've got a guy being honored like that, you don't want to go out there and lay an egg. Let's just be honest with what it is, you don't ever want to do that, but you don't want to go out there – Michael Strahan is out there being honored for the great player that he was and what he did for this team – you don't want to go out there and lay an egg, especially defensively. Those guys are conscious of it."
View photos of the special halftime ceremony honoring Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Strahan.
Flanked by family, former teammates, coaches and owners, Strahan spoke to the crowd at MetLife Stadium about his journey from living on a military base in Germany as a kid to returning to his home state of Texas for one year of high school football before playing collegiately and getting taken by the New York Giants in the second round of the 1993 NFL Draft. Strahan's career spanned, as he noted, three generations. His first season was Lawrence Taylor's final one in the NFL, closing a major chapter in Giants history and opening another with the likes of himself and Jessie Armstead, who was the only former teammate not wearing a blue No. 92 jersey. Rather, the former three-time All-Pro linebacker wore No. 64.
"If you're wondering, Jessie is wearing No. 64 because that was the number they gave me," Strahan said. "After being in the newspaper here in New York, I looked at the picture and said, 'That's an ugly number.' So, I went in the locker room and I got 92."
No other Giant has worn it since.
"Now, to be here today, my journey is over, it just means my journey in the uniform is complete," said Strahan, whose third act as a player culminated in Super Bowl XLII alongside fellow Ring of Honor members like Eli Manning, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. "I want to thank you for taking a 15-year journey with me. I love you New York Giants fans. I have a lot of teammates who were here with me. … I was very fortunate to have a 15-year journey and to do it all here in New York, which is unheard of, and to do it in front of the greatest fans in the world. And as I said, the journey is not over because once a Giant, always a Giant.
"I want to thank all my teammates because I stand up here, but I stand on your shoulders because everyone of you made me better in some way as a player. All of the holding that [former offensive lineman] Kareem McKenzie and Shaun O'Hara used to do, you made me a better player. You guys made me a better leader, and you made me a better man. Coach [Tom] Coughlin, I can't thank you enough. He completely changed my life. I almost came out here five minutes late just to piss him off.
"I've got to thank this organization, the Mara and Tisch families. Thank you for bringing me to New York. I've got to say this, every team has their ups and downs, but the New York Giants have won Super Bowls. There are teams that have never done that. Appreciate what you got. We will be back. We will be up again, I guarantee you that. In closing, I just want to say that I'm so grateful to have my family here because without them I am not here. My father is here in spirit, and my mom is here. Thank you mom for giving birth to me, for encouraging me, and for being the toughest person in my life. I just got to, say in closing, you know we did when we won that Super Bowl in 2007, right? They didn't give us a chance, did they? But, you do your job. What did we do? We stomp you stop out! New York Giants, I love you. Thank you."
After Strahan landed from his trademark jump, the stage was cleared from midfield and the Giants had a game to close out.
"I'll let him talk for himself, but [defensive lineman] Leonard [Williams] said to me coming out after halftime, he goes, 'It's good to see Strahan out here,'" Judge said. "They're very, very conscious of that. They're very conscious of the people who came before us, very conscious of the players that made an impact on this team over the years. The only pictures we have in the building are of former players. We've got the Boroughs, we've got the area of North Jersey, we've got the areas so everyone is alert and aware of who we represent, to know the areas, and then we've got pictures of former players. That's all we've got. We don't need a bunch of motivational sayings and all that type of stuff. All we need is who and where, that's all that's important."