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NFL Network’s ‘Jersey Guys’ looks at Giants’ exodus to NJ

NFL Network's 'The Timeline' clocks in with 'Jersey Guys'

NFL Network's 'The Timeline' tells the story of when the Giants moved to New Jersey in its "Jersey Guys" episode, which premieres Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 8 p.m.

The NFL Network series “The Timeline” clocks in at 8 p.m. Tuesday with “Jersey Guys,” which focuses on the Giants’ move across the Hudson in 1976 and on the road that began there and culminated in Super Bowl XXI in January 1987.

Jon Bon Jovi narrates, naturally, and many relevant luminaries are interviewed, including Bill Parcells, Phil Simms, Mark Bavaro, Harry Carson, comedian Joe Piscopo, former New Jersey governor Tom Kean and the late Frank Gifford.

As is often the case with these sort of shows, the best stuff is the archival footage, including some remarkably blunt comments from John Lindsay, the New York mayor when the Giants’ relationship with the city fell apart.

There also is a segment on another late mayor, Ed Koch, refusing to allow the Giants a victory parade in the streets of Manhattan.

“It made me mad; that’s all I can say,” Simms says. “He turned it into a spectacle for himself.”

There also are reminders for young fans that the late co-owner Wellington Mara was not always the widely respected figure he became in the final 20 years or so of his life.

Plus the producers wisely trot out a memorable old restaurant commercial featuring Parcells and WFAN’s Mike Francesa.

The adorable grand finale features longtime fans interacting with their old heroes, but I will leave out the particulars for no-spoiler purposes.

So, is it worth watching? Probably so, as an hourlong investment for avid Giants fans in need of a pick-me-up after Sunday’s dismal loss to the Jets.

But it is an odd documentary creature. About half of it is about the years leading up to the move, which could have and should have been its own show. (Strangely, the season in the Yale Bowl in 1974 is discussed, but not the one at Shea Stadium in ’75.)

Then it morphs into a story about the early Parcells years. Again, that’s a different story and a different documentary.

More than that, though, fans who did not grow up in New Jersey — and perhaps some who did — likely will find the heavy-handed paeans to New Jersey toughness and spirit cloying after a while.

This, from Kean, is typical of the oft-repeated theme: “It was New Jersey celebrating New Jersey. We can do it. We can do it. We can do anything. We can take on New York. We can take on anybody. We’re New Jersey.”


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