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Three legends join Giants Ring of Honor


*Tom Coughlin, Ernie Accorsi, and Justin Tuck were honored at Halftime: *

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Tom Coughlin was a stickler about everyone being on time during his 12 seasons as the Giants' head coach, but he's apparently become a bit lax since leaving the sideline. His Ring of Honor acceptance speech Monday night drifted three minutes past his allotted time. He delivered most of it after the players and coaches had returned to the field, and briefly delayed the start of the second half.

"I didn't think I would get the opportunity to see it live, so I was very fortunate that he got up there and I got to hear Coach Coughlin talk," Eli Manning said. "I was just imagining what he'd be doing on the sideline if someone was up there at halftime going over the limit. He'd be going crazy on the sideline. But I guess we can't fine him anymore for being late, so we'll give him an exception this time."

Coughlin was determined to have his say, even if it resulted in a delay of game.

"I know the players are back on the field," he said, "but I'm not going to get cheated."

Who could blame him?

Coughlin, the two-time Super Bowl-winning coach, former general manager Ernie Accorsi, and two-time Super Bowl champion defensive end Justin Tuck became the newest members of the Ring of Honor during a halftime ceremony in the Giants' 21-20 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. They bring to 42 the number of Giants immortals whose names will be displayed in MetLife Stadium for as long as football is played there.

View pictures from the Ring of Honor halftime ceremony.

The master of ceremonies was Michael Strahan, a charter member of the Ring in 2010 and a 2014 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.

After receiving his own rousing ovation, Strahan introduced the honorees, beginning with Accorsi, the general manager from 1998-2006. Accorsi's seminal transaction was acquiring Manning in a draft-day trade in 2004.

"Everyone knows in an organization that the success starts from the top," Strahan told the crowd. "Under Ernie, every player felt valuable, every player felt wanted, and every player knew that they had a role with this team. They were meant to be Giants and once a Giant, always a Giant."

He then called Accorsi to the podium set up at midfield to receive his Ring of Honor jacket.

Accorsi first thanked the Mara and Tisch families and his three children.

"I will always cherish the memory of Wellington and Ann Mara and Bob Tisch, who gave me the opportunity to be a general manager, and George Young who brought me here 22 years ago," Accorsi said. "(And) every one of you, the best fans of the best franchise in sports. Every player to ever wear the Giant blue. If I can take a line from the great Yankee Clipper, I want to thank the good Lord for making me a New York Giant."

Strahan then introduced Tuck, his fellow defensive end and close friend.

"He's such a gentle giant off the field," Strahan said. "But for all of us Giant players, as his teammate and a fan, we're so lucky he was not so gentle on the field. I couldn't be prouder to have him up here on this stage to get this jacket. I know for 15 years of football, I wouldn't have a Super Bowl ring without you. I know I may have gotten more credit, I know Osi (Umenyiora, who is also in the Ring of Honor) thought he was prettier, but without you my friend, there would be no Super Bowl 42 championship."

The ever-humble Tuck made it clear he was not entering the Ring of honor alone.

"It goes without saying that whenever you get to this point that you have so many people to thank," Tuck said. "I thank the Mara family. I thank the Tisch family. I thank the Giants organization as a whole. I thank these Giants fans. I thank my family, my beautiful wife (Lauran) and our kids, for their support.

"It's funny, the last time I was up here, I think we were bringing a Super Bowl 46 back here. I asked you guys to do me a favor. I asked you to sing my son Happy Birthday. Tonight, I'm going to ask you to do me one more favor. Every time you see my name up in those rafters, don't think about anything that Justin Tuck did. Think about everything that we did, everything that our coaching staff and our teammates did. We don't get to this point without a collective effort. To steal what Ernie just said, I thank God every night for making me a New York Giant. God bless."

With both teams beginning to return to the field, Strahan turned to Coughlin, who had a large contingent of family members in the audience in front of the stage.

"I'd like to say that this man taught us about teamwork, taught us about winning, about how to get it done, and most of all, he taught us how five minutes is not early, it's right on time. Tom Coughlin, everyone."

The man who would not be cheated delivered a typically inspiring speech.

"Tonight is a very special night," Coughlin said. "A night of celebration. Congratulations go forth to Ernie Accorsi and his family and Justin Tuck, his wife Lauran, their beautiful family. It is an honor to be inducted with both of these young men tonight. I also want to thank the Mara and Tisch families for the opportunity extended to me in January of 2004 to become the 16th head coach of the New York Giants. I want to thank the outstanding coaches, executives and talented players that I've had the privilege of working with. The honor bestowed on me tonight really must be shared by all of you. I wish to thank my colleagues and friends from the many departments within the New York Giants organization. It was a pleasure to work side-by-side with you all these years.

"The great game of football is an integral part of who I am. I feel blessed that I've been able to dedicate my professional career to this game with the love and support of my number one team, my family. My quarterback, the team captain, my wife Judy. The coordinators, the team leaders, our children. Their spouses and our 12 beautiful grandchildren."

Coughlin the football coach – and Giants – historian then took over.

"Putting everything in proper perspective tonight, the New York Giants franchise is 92 years old," he said. "With tonight's inductions, the number of men in the New York Giant Ring of Honor is 42. I'm humbled to be included in this most distinguished group of Giant greats. Tonight, I am thinking of my father, John Louis Coughlin, and my mother, Betty Coughlin. I hope they are proud to see our family name high above the playing field next to all the Giant greats. I sincerely hope that our children and grandchildren will share this special night with their children and grandchildren for generations to come. Keeping this honor in our family, our son-in-law, the great Giant offensive guard Chris Snee was inducted into the Ring of Honor in 2015. I look forward to sharing this distinguished honor with Chris. I want to thank the millions of New York Giants fans. The greatest fans in the world. The greatest franchise in all of professional sports, the New York Giants. Thank you."

No coach, thank you.




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