EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ (PIX11)—The team's name is about size, and size was the main difference between the Giants' Super Bowl celebration at The Meadowlands in New Jersey Tuesday afternoon and the team's ceremony at New York City Hall hours earlier. The New York ceremony allowed only 250 members of the general public to attend with a family member or friend if they won a ticket lottery. The New Jersey rally had no tickets -- everybody was welcome, and some 55,000 fans filled two-thirds of MetLife Stadium to show their support.
Everybody there got to see the players, as well as the Vince Lombardi Trophy in person in the stadium in which the team was able to play only once during the post-season. It's the same stadium, of course, which they share with the New York Jets during the regular season.
One-on-one afterward, the Super Bowl hero tried to explain to PIX11 News exactly what he'd meant. "It feels great to come back to our house and celebrate this with our fans, who've supported us all year," he said, re-emphasizing that he views MetLife Stadium as the Giants' home field.
Still, on that field one-on-one and on the stage in front of tens of thousands of fans, all of the team members insisted that the Giants belong to both sides of the Hudson.
"I get the same jitterbugs in my stomach, and the same goosebumps," wide receiver Victor Cruz told PIX11 News, comparing the MetLife Stadium celebration with the City Hall ceremony. "Any time you can be a part of this," Cruz said, "It's all good."
Coach Tom Coughlin, himself a native of Upstate New York, said about the New Jersey reception, "It's great to be home, it's great to be here. It's great to have the fans come out and show their appreciation."
Quarterback Eli Manning's statement to fans spoke specifically to New Jersey and specifically to the people who'd come to the New Jersey stadium week after week, even during the midseason, when the team went through a series of losses that severely jeopardized their chances for making the post-season, and forced them to lose home field advantage for every playoff game.
"Our backs against the wall," Manning told the crowd, "We said 'Hey, we've got to win out from here.' We went on to six straight wins and to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home to New Jersey."
In the end, though, it was from the fans, both inside the stadium and outside, that full clarity about the New York Giants playing, practicing and being managed in New Jersey emerges.
"It's a brotherhood," Doreen Oliva, manager at the Meadowlands Diner just outside the MetLife Stadium grounds, told PIX11 News. "It's two states joined together for one team."