For the first time since the 2019 regular-season, the New York Giants welcomed fans back to MetLife Stadium on Sunday.
And for a few moments early on, it sounded a lot like the Giants Stadium days.
Then, in the blink of an eye, it was right back to the same old, same old: booing, booing and more booing before packing the tunnels to exit long before the game itself had ended.
“We’ve got to earn the fans respect, point blank. These people come out here and spend their hard earned money. They sit in the seats, they cheer for us, they give us energy within the seats. We have to give them something to cheer about,” head coach Joe Judge told reporters after a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos.
“It’s not their job to show up and cheer just the cheer. That’s not their job. Their job is to be entertained. They buy a ticket, that means they buy the right to cheer, boo, stay, leave, whatever they want to do. We got to give them something to stay for. We have to give them something to cheer for. That’s on us as a team, we got to do a better job for that.”
The fans did their best to stay in the game, but they’re beaten down bunch. The Giants have had just one winning season since 2011 and have now lost 10 of their last 11 regular-season openers.
It’s hard for the team’s faithful to keep taking these beatings.
“I appreciate the fans, what they did, I look forward to seeing them in a few weeks,” Judge added. “Look, our focus is to make sure the next time they come, they see a better product and they stay the full 60 minutes to watch it.”
Judge and the players certainly felt it this time around.
Early in the second half, fans packed the exits — their backs turned on the team with the game still ongoing. It was jarring for the players, but maybe it’ll be the wake-up call they need.
“I mean, it’s tough,” wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “Like Coach Judge said, these people pay their hard earned money to come see winning football. I mean that’s what this franchise is all about, is winning. That’s what the history has been all about. So it’s been frustrating the past few years and I understand the frustration.
“I mean, we’re not happy about it as well. So, we got to dig our cleats in the ground and we’ve got to give the fans what they want. And yeah, it’s frustrating. I hate seeing them have to leave the game early. That’s something that I honestly really noticed. I’m locked into the game, but you can’t help but see people lined up in the tunnels and it’s no fun seeing that.”
Safety Logan Ryan took a slightly different approach.
“I mean, if the game’s out of control, beat the traffic,” Ryan said.
If the Giants can’t find a way to finally right this ship, they won’t need COVID-19 to empty the seats at MetLife Stadium — their play will accomplish that all the same.
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