The New York Giants have reached out one more time to the students, families and faculty members from the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy by inviting over 400 of their "community" to play a key part in a pregame ceremony in the team's regular season finale at MetLife Stadium.
The contingent of people — families and individuals still trying to come to grips with the Newtown, Conn. shooting — will attend the game and play a key part of the festivities before the Giants face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.
"To have that group from the Sandy Hook Elementary School and the Newtown community come down for this game with Philadelphia, it means a great deal to us, and we would certainly like to honor them," said head coach Tom Coughlin, who broke the news Friday. "The best we can do is to take each individual and play to the best of our ability and make a statement as a team as well."
Along with 50 members of the Wounded Warrior Project, the Sandy Hook contingent will form a path leading from the team tunnels to the playing field. The Giants and Eagles will run through the two lines of honorees onto the gridiron.
Sandy Hook residents will also circle the field during the national Anthem before a moment of silence for the victims.
The Giants have already honored the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 shooting by wearing decals with the school's initials S.H.E.S on their helmets. The school is about 60 miles northeast of MetLife Stadium.
Victor Cruz was so moved to find out one of the young victims, 6-year-old Jack Pinto, was a diehard fan of his, the wide receiver made a trip to Newtown and visited the family. The little boy was buried in Cruz's No. 80 jersey and he has kept in touch "to see how they're doing."
"They're going to be at the game also," said the newly-selected All-Pro Cruz. "So I'm excited to see them again, and I think it's good for them to get away a little bit and spend some time on a Sunday afternoon watching some football and getting their minds off of things a little bit."
This could be the most emotional tribute for the Sandy Hook victims by a sports organization yet. It sure makes getting into the playoffs small in comparison.