Justin Tuck wanted to make sure the gloves got to a fan. Whoever it might be.
Following the conclusion of the Giants’ first practice here in the New Meadowlands Stadium this afternoon, the starting defensive end Tuck walked directly toward a portion of the crowd hollering his name. But mere yards from the first fans Tuck was to directly interact with in the new stadium, a Giants representative grabbed hold of Tuck. Tuck needed to be reminded that he could not approach the stands immediately following the game. He had duties with the media on the field to uphold.
But nevertheless, Tuck realized what the day was truly about. And he made sure the Giants’ intermediary got the gloves to some lucky fan.
"Make sure the gloves get in the stands!" Tuck said as he handed over the gloves and turned back to the hashmarks midfield for interviews with the media at hand.
Tuck and the rest of the Giants personnel competed in front of an estimated 7,000 fans at the New Meadowlands Stadium at the practice facility this afternoon. The 7,000 in attendance were significantly fewer than the number the Giants had register online for free tickets for Tuesday’s practice.
Seconds after being turned away from Giants fans, Tuck made sure to thank them on a day that perhaps was mainly for them.
"It’s not surprising," Tuck said, "We know how New York fans are. They probably have been chomping at the bit to see some football action. So we are excited about it. We have the best fans in the world.
"I saw a guy with a Philly jersey on and I thought it would be a little trouble for him. They kind of exiled him. You know, get roughed up a little bit. It’s great to be up here with our fans and our fans love us and we love them."
Minutes later Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s words echoed those of Tuck. On this day Coughlin wasn’t looking to far into some of the little nuances of the stadium that reporters asked him about.
The change in location of the tiny 40-second clock behind the endzone? The difference in winds thanks to the towering vertical confines of the new stadium’s stands? Coughlin said he and his players have three preseason games to adjust to those. For now, it was a day mostly about getting acquainted to the stadium with the fans. Most internal football business issues will be ironed out during later days within these new confines.
"The crowd. The excitement. The energy," Coughlin said. "To talk to our fans and tell them how much we appreciate them and say, ‘Hey’. This is a little reminder of the twelfth man principle and how much we need them going into the regular season."