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Newfound success reversing Giants players’ relationship with fans

For so long, for too long, the Giants have learned the hard way that there is no worse place to lose than New York. 

But now they are learning that there is no better place to win where Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin won, where Lawrence Taylor and Phil Simms and Harry Carson won, where Michael Strahan and Eli Manning won once way back when. 

New York doesn’t have the patent anymore on euphoria or disaster, but so many of these Giants have known only disaster, and so the euphoria that has embraced their stunning 5-1 start is that much sweeter now, and it whets their appetite for more. 

“I think it’s definitely changed. You can feel it walking around or going out to dinner,” Daniel Jones, who was 14-35 as a Giant entering the season, told The Post. “People are definitely fired up and excited for the success. 

“I think that makes you want to continue that and find ways to win more games.” 

Since the Jets drafted him in 2015 and traded him to the Giants midway through the 2019 season, Leonard Williams was 25-46 entering the 2022 season. He has not played in a playoff game. 

“When we lose after a game, I don’t even want to go anywhere with the team, I kind of want to just like hide myself,” Williams told The Post, “but when we win, we all want to go to dinner together and hang out and do all that type of stuff.” 

Giants fans erupt during the team's win over the Ravens.
Giants fans erupt during the team’s win over the Ravens.
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Everybody loves a winner. “The way people are treating us in the city now, we get more like VIP tables and all that type of stuff now when we go places,” Williams told The Post. 

Julian Love was part of Jones’ draft class. “It’s fun when you’re driving to work and you see all sorts of people go to work in their Giants gear,” he told The Post, “because you have people proud to support you.” 

Love laughed when asked if it’s easy to get restaurant reservations now. “You walk into a place and people are excited to cater to you, excited to meet you,” Love said. “I’m sure this is how it was, or a taste of how it was when the Giants were really winning.” 

Love endured that 14-35 record from 2019-21. “The low point,” Love recalled, “was everybody just talking about you, everyone talking about how the Giants are not a good team, and from top down, they were just talking a lot of smack towards us (chuckle), and so that’s tough to hear, tough to be a part of. Having their support and their backing and their confidence helps you.” 

Saquon Barkley was 19-46 since the Giants drafted him in 2018. “Keep it going,” is what he hears now. “We love it. The Giants are back; the Giants are back. You could feel that. You could feel that electricity throughout the stadium. You could feel that after the game when you walk out and you see the fans and you greet the fans,” Barkley said. 

Oshane Ximines was in the same draft class as Jones and Love and Dexter Lawrence.. “I feel like there’s no better city to play in than here,” Ximines told The Post, “especially when you’re winning, feel love from everywhere, in all directions.” 

The Giants are 3.5-point underdogs to the 2-4 Jaguars Sunday in Jacksonville. “At the end of the day, we’re winning games,” Barkley said. “We’re 5-1, and we’re just going to continue to fall in love with the process. Everyone else can say whatever they want to say, how they feel about us, but we know what we’ve got in this locker room,. We know what we’ve got in this facility, and we’re just going to keep believing in each other.” 

New York wants so badly to believe in the Giants. Xavier McKinney won big at Alabama. He was 10-23 in his first two years as a Giant. 

Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring during the Giants' win over the Packers.
Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring during the Giants’ win over the Packers.
Daniel Jones s
Daniel Jones said he can “feel” the impact the Giants’ success has had in New York.
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“Who doesn’t love winning?” McKinney said. “I think it’s like that everywhere. I think it’s heightened here because it’s New York, but obviously everybody wants to win, nobody wants to be a loser or be part of losing.” 

The Brian Daboll Giants are an easy team to root for: so resilient and tough-minded, and the essence of a team. But they are fully aware that they haven’t won a thing yet as they continue to adopt their one-play, one-series, one-game-at-a-time mantra. And the many scars from a town without pity aren’t easily forgotten. 

“Those same people that are patting you on the back will kick you while you’re down,” one Giant said. 

The Giants are no longer down. “You want ‘em to have something to be proud of,” Lawrence said. ”We want to give ’em something to be proud of.” 

As John Mara said: So far, so good.

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