Giants fans cheer win in new stadium
Now that’s how you break in a new stadium.
Big Blue’s faithful got a jolt of hope Sunday as the Giants opened the season with a rousing 31-18 win over the Carolina Panthers.
It’s just one win, of course, but fans are hoping it’s a sign that last year’s disappointing season won’t be repeated this year.
“After today, I think the Giants are playoff material,” said Queens resident Tim Farrell, 43, who was watching the game at the Blarney Stone pub in Midtown. “I don’t know about a Super Bowl, but they’ll at least make the playoffs.”
“If everybody stays healthy, we’re good,” added James Escalante, 35, of Bensonhurst. “It’s a long way to go, but knock on wood.”
The New Meadowlands Stadium was reportedly at near capacity, with about 93 percent of the 82,500 seats sold out. The Giants share the $1.6 billion facility in East Rutherford, N.J., with the Jets, who play their first game tonight against the Baltimore Ravens.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin called the win “outstanding,” but tempered his enthusiasm by saying the season – marred by preseason injuries – has only begun.
“We do have a ways to go and we have a lot of things to work on,” Coughlin said.
Defensive end Justin Tuck told reporters that last year also started out strong (the team began 5-0), but the Giants finished 8-8 and missed the playoffs.
“Doesn’t matter what we do, we’ve got to move on. Never get stagnant,” Tuck said. “We’ve put in the past a season that started 5-0, and you see where it went.”
Other Giants fans said they remain cautious for the rest of the season despite the win.
“The Giants looked real good today, but you put a good team out there and we’re losing,” said Stephen Ward, 41, of Queens.
“Last year we were kind of up and down, but we’re starting off strong this season,” said Liz Adams, 24, of Gramercy. “Beating the Panthers is a good way to start it off.”
Giants season finishes
2009: 8-8 record; failed to make playoffs
2008: 12-4; made playoffs, but lost in the NFC Divisional round to the Philadelphia Eagles
2007: 10-6; won Super Bowl XLII against the New England Patriots
2006: 8-8; made playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Philadelphia Eagles
2005: 11-5; made playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Carolina Panthers