The Giants today threw open the doors to their championship party to their fans with a two-state celebration that put the finishing touches on one of the most successful and memorable finishes in the 87-yard history of the franchise.
It began with a ticker tape parade in the Canyon of Heroes in lower Manhattan before the team's 18-bus convoy crossed back over the Hudson River for a raucous ceremony on the field of their home, MetLife Stadium.
It was a wonderful and unique day, with many unforgettable scenes – perhaps one million fans lining the parade route, seemingly all of them dressed in Giants (well, all but one, a misguided fellow wearing a Jets jersey and cap who clearly refuses to give up the ship; New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and former Giants great Michael Strahan co-hosting a ceremony at City Hall in which the Giants received keys to the world's greatest city; Tom Coughlin discussing the early morning conversation he had with President Obama; practice squad running back Andre Brown leading a chorus of his suddenly hit song, "I Got a Ring"; Eli Manning and Justin Tuck emerging from the stadium tunnel holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy, which the Giants earned for a fourth time with their 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI; Justin Tuck asking the 30,000 fans in the stadium to say happy birthday to his son, Jayce, who turned two today (after he sacked Tom Brady twice in the Super Bowl, who wouldn't honor that request)?; and Brandon Jacobs taking a lap around the stadium with the trophy so the fans could touch it.
The parade began at 11 a.m. at Battery Place and Washington Street on the southern tip of Manhattan. It continued north up Broadway to Worth Street.
Confetti – most of it blue and white - showered down on the floats and busses on the parade route. Manning and Tuck, the offensive and defensive captains, general manager Jerry Reese, co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo were on the float with the trophy, which was alternately held aloft by the players and Coughlin.
Bloomberg and Strahan introduced the players and coaches and Coughlin, Manning and Tuck each spoke at the City Hall ceremony – which sounded very much like MetLife Stadium on game day.
Coughlin revealed he had taken a call from Obama Tuesday morning.
"He spoke about our resiliency, our leadership, the great ability that this team possessed to finish, to win so many games in the fourth quarter," Coughlin told the crowd. "But the key thing was to remember this – all things are possible for those who believe. We always believed. We always knew we could get here. We had to put it together. It's a great, great credit to the coaches who did a magnificent job and to our players."
"Two months ago, the experts doubted the Giants would even make the playoffs," Bloomberg said. "But we're here today because the Giants believed in each other, and you believed in them."
Manning strode to the microphone to chants of "MVP, MVP." He won his second Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award by completing 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards and a touchdown.
"Coach Coughlin this year had two themes that we bought into," Manning said. "The first one was, 'Make it tough, but make it possible.' When we started the season 6-2, we said, 'Coach, it's not tough enough. We need to lose four in a row to make this more challenging.' That's what we did. We made it tough. In the Super Bowl, we got off to a 9-0 lead. We said, 'Coach, it's too easy, we have to make it tougher, we got to lose the lead, we have to make a fourth-quarter comeback.' And sure enough, we did and we made it possible.
"The other message that's been talked about today was 'Finish.' Finish games, finish the fourth quarter and finish the season strong. And that's exactly what we did. A team that had eight fourth-quarter comebacks to win games, including one in the Super Bowl, finished the season winning six straight games and we finished the final game and took home the Super Bowl trophy.
That's what I'm talking about."
Tuck touched on two other popular themes of the day, the players' bond and the fans' contributions.
"We made it here by believing in each other," Tuck said. "And obviously we wouldn't be here without your support. Why would you not love to play for these Giants, baby?"
Tuck then summoned Brown, who thought of the lyrics in the moments after the Super Bowl when it occurred to him that, 'Hey, I got a ring.' He sang it on the flight home and in a holding area before the Giants crossed the street to the City Hall State.
After Brown and several teammates sang, "I Got a Ring!" on stage, Tuck said, "And guess what? I got two."
A grand time was had by all.
"I haven't asked the mayor yet," Giants chairman and executive vice president Steve Tisch said, "but we should do this every Tuesday."
Then it was on to MetLife Stadium, where Tisch told the crowd, "On Sunday night, millions of people saw the Giants cancel 'The Brady Bunch.'"
Video highlights of the season were shown on the stadium's giant screens, and the loudest cheer was the "CRUUUUUUZ" every time Victor Cruz was shown.
Team president and chief executive officer John Mara said it was great to be honored on New York City.
"But when you pull into this place and see all you fans out there, you realize one thing, there's no place like home. And we are very proud to call New Jersey our home. And we are even more proud of the fact that we have the greatest, most loyal fans in the world. Thank you so much for your support."
Tuck elicited a loud roar when he said, "It's MetLife Stadium. But the one thing you can be sure of is whose house this is."
Manning, the "MVP" chants still ringing throughout the stadium, said, "There's no place I'd rather be right here, right now with the greatest fans in the world."
And there was no place those fans would rather be than celebrating another championship with the team they love.