The pandemic kept Giants fans from the inside of MetLife Stadium since the end of 2019 up until Sunday. The Giants’ performance pushed them out of it long before the game officially ended.
After they turned the ball over on downs with 6:25 remaining in their 27-13 loss to the Broncos, a large percentage of the 74,119 in attendance left the building in disgust. Left behind was a mostly Broncos-centric throng that reveled to the end of the game while those in Giants jerseys were part of the brake-light parade in the parking lots.
"If the game is out of control, beat the traffic," safety Logan Ryan said. "That’s not what we want."
It’s what has happened with alarming regularity in recent years, though. Since 2017 the Giants have won just nine of their 33 home games. Included in this latest home debacle at MetLife Stadium — alive with the buzz of opening day early in the afternoon with fans brought to their feet several times by the return of Saquon Barkley — was its usual deflated balloon by the time Daniel Jones ran across the goal line for a meaningless 4-yard touchdown on the last play of the game.
"I hate seeing [fans] have to leave the game early," Sterling Shepard said. "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."
A relatively new rule in the NFL meant the Giants did not need to attempt the extra point that did not affect the final result. Just one less play for the fans to have listened to on their car radio.
Coach Joe Judge said he didn’t blame the fans for bailing on the game Sunday.
"We have to earn the fans’ respect, point blank," he said. "We have to give them something to cheer about. It’s not their job to show up and cheer just to cheer. Their job is to be entertained. They buy a ticket that means they buy the right to cheer, boo, stay or leave, whatever they want to do. We have to give them something to stay for, we have to give them something to cheer for. That’s on us as a team."
The next Giants home game is on Sept. 26 against the Falcons. It figures to be an equally hyped up crowd as the team will retire Eli Manning’s jersey and induct him into the Ring of Honor at halftime. Once that ceremony is over, though, it will be up to the current team to maintain the atmosphere.
"We look forward to seeing them again," Judge said of the Giants fans. "Our focus is to make sure the next time they come they see a better product and they stay the whole 60 minutes."