Each season, certain New York Giants players sell their NFL-licensed jerseys off the rack like the powers-that-be were about to close the sports stores forever. Then, there are some players that have to have their jerseys custom-made by fans as they’re not deemed “popular” enough for mass production. What about other players – those that really aren’t even at an imminent popularity juncture?
The first-string guys for Big Blue will always be the ones that ensure the appeal of the franchise. Sometimes, through injury, the back-up players become more than role players and contribute enough to now be front line men. Again, what about those role-players that rarely get their time, but flash when they do?
Every diehard fan has their underdog that they root for. That one player that they wish would get a chance to get out there and show the skills that are possessed to actually be on the field every down. For some, it starts while watching them during a particular part of their college career, for others it grows with the draft coverage, and with many it is solidified through training camp drills and explosions of brilliance there or even in preseason.
Once an affinity for an expectant breakout player is attained, it’s a bit hard to let go until it’s finally realized on the playing field that such a player hasn’t lived up to what was once a reachable greatness. Majority of the time, disappointment sets in and the realization that had been with the coaches and scouts is now in the head of the loyal fan. Then, another possibility is eventually chosen to place hope in.
Why do some of the big blue faithful look deeper into the roster for players to cheer for? The Giants themselves thrive on the underdog role. Does the fan base embrace and follow suit, looking for the next guy that will rise up and become the best-selling jersey? It’s not an unrealistic theory.
This allegiance and hopefulness isn’t focused on particular skill positions either. It isn’t geared towards one side of the ball. Backup offensive linemen, special teams players and even third-stringers/rookies that were almost practice squad material get mad love from Giants fans. Several of the recipients of said affection may have been heroes at some point. They may have made a game-changing play. They may have briefly received some attention from media outlets or opposing teams. They may have even helped the team gel and possibly win in the absence of the true #1 for a time period.
Whatever the real reasons that the fans continue to find a place in their hearts for roster long shots (some of the on the roster, but with reduced blue-chip roles), the fact remains that it’s a real part of being diehard. Poll a few writers and commenters here and the results are sure to back up almost everything mentioned.
Heck, as a side note: I'm even willing to put a few of my “hopefuls” out there for you to crack on. Along with many others, I happily applauded/continue to cheer on: LB Nick Greisen, QB Jared Lorenzen and LB Chase Blackburn. Past roster hopefuls: RB Delvin Joyce (thought he was going to be the next Dave Meggett), CB Frankie Walker (yeah, he perpetually angered us too), S Charlie Peprah (yup, the one in Green Bay now), and WR Michael Jennings (fast kid, gold grills & pimped-out Chevy's). Currently I have yet to give up on WR Ramses Barden, LB Mark Herzlich (those that know me, know I’m not bandwagon with Mark & flipped out when we signed him, undrafted) and OL Mitch Petrus (I remain solid in saying he reminds me of Rich Seubert at times).
Mock away, G101’ers.
Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.