Rashad Jennings has been waiting his whole career for this game.
He didn’t know exactly when it would be, that it would happen on Dec. 11, 2016, against the Cowboys. There were times he wasn’t even certain it would arrive. But now it’s here.
The biggest game of his life.
“Yeah,” he said of that seemingly hyperbolic description with a smile. “Obviously.”
Obviously because Jennings has spent the first seven years of his NFL career on losing teams that were more often than not eliminated from playoff contention by early December. This year, for the first time, he’s playing meaningful games at this point in the season.
“It don’t happen every year, I’m proof of it,” he said. “This is year eight. It’s exciting for this team to be in this position on Sunday night and have that electrifying energy in December that’s about to take place.”
The game will go a long way toward determining whether or not the Giants and Jennings make it to the playoffs. For him it would be a first. For the Giants, it would be a first since 2011.
That, though, just adds to the drama of Sunday night between two familiar rivals.
“They know the game plan, we know the game plan,” he said. “It’s gonna be a fight. Ain’t no secrets between us, we play each other every year. Twice. You throw everything out the window. You throw out ideas, throw out any player’s quotes or anything from coaches. Their quotes or sayings, throw them all out the window. We have to play Sunday night.”
All of which sets a stage Jennings never has been able to step on to.
“I love it,” he said. “That’s exciting. You have two teams that both have something to play for. It’s in December and it matters. It’s fun. That’s what you want.”
It’s the kind of game that, for the past seven years, Jennings has had to watch from the outside. He’s appreciated them, but he’s also yearned for them. Now he gets to be part of one.
“I’m excited for the show just like everybody else,” he said of Sunday’s game in front of a national television audience. “I’m just blessed to be in it.”