New York Giants owner John Mara speaks at a news...

New York Giants owner John Mara speaks at a news conference. (July 21, 2011) Credit: AP

John Mara used his first public statement of the season to note that the turnaround from 0-6 to 4-6 is a "tribute" to Tom Coughlin and the Giants' leaders.

"We were all disappointed and surprised by the slow start," the Giants' president and CEO said Thursday. "I am proud of the way this team stuck together. We always want to play meaningful games around and after Thanksgiving, and that's exactly what we have this Sunday in MetLife Stadium. I'm proud of the way the team has stuck together. That is a tribute to the head coach and the leadership in the locker room."

Mara spoke at a media event for the "Hometown Hall of Famer" plaque honoring his father, the late Wellington Mara, who died eight years ago. The plaque will be unveiled during a ceremony in the auditorium at Loyola School in Manhattan on Friday, where it will be permanently displayed. Wellington Mara was a graduate of the school before attending Fordham University and joining the family football business in a career that spanned more than 80 years.

"This recognition would have been very meaningful to my father," John Mara said. "He spoke often about his days at Loyola and the experiences that he had there, growing up in New York City. So I think being recognized and having this plaque at this school that he loved so much in the city he loved so much would have been especially meaningful."

What also would be meaningful would be winning another championship, something that seemed impossible after six straight losses to start the season. But now the Giants find themselves in the thick of the NFC East race, particularly if they can beat the Cowboys on Sunday and inch within a game of the first-place Eagles.

"As the players and our head coach have said repeatedly over the last month, we are taking it one game at a time," Mara said. "We're moving forward and, as our coach has urged the team to do, doing our best to keep the dream alive."

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