The 1986 New York Football Giants finished the season 14-2, rolled over the 49ers 49-3, and shut down the Redskins 17-0 on their way to the first Super Bowl win in team history. It was quite a ride. For those of you that have followed this series since the beginning, you know that we had purchased plane tickets back in November after the Giants defeated the Broncos in Giants Stadium. Our dream had come true….We were going to California.
That year in New York there was a terrible snowstorm mid-week before the game was to take place in Pasadena. There were all sorts of reports on the news of cancelled flights and people sleeping in the airport, renting cars, taking trains, anything to get to the West coast. Our plans were to leave on Thursday and return Monday. When we arrived at the airport in NY, there was a flood of people, some looking to buy tickets from other travelers (remember this was pre 9/11, no names on the tickets), some waiting for cancellations. We made our way through the throng and onto our plane on time and took off for sunny California. We landed and picked up our rental, a white Lincoln Town Car. Again, this was the 80’s, they didn’t rent compacts and mid-size cars, as a matter of fact, almost everyone at the event had the exact same car. We then made our way to Palm Springs ( where I now live), where we met the others in our party that had come out ahead of us. They were staying at the famous La Quinta hotel and had played the brand new Stadium Golf Course that day. We went to Tony Roma’s for dinner, a restaurant that is still operating today. We had made plans to stay at the vacation home of a friends parents, which we got to late at night and didn’t really know where we were. In the morning we awoke to look out the sliding glass doors to a beautiful golf course. After a nice round of golf we returned to the house to find the rest of our party…12 people in all…had arrived. Sunday morning at 8 A.M. we all met at a central location where we took a “team” picture complete with 16 Super Bowl Tickets!
The game that year was at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, a beautiful location, but one that lacked a key ingredient and the reason the NFL doesn’t go back. We were directed to the parking lot, which was a golf course. Yes…Parking on a golf course! People walking through bunkers, picnicking on greens, it was wild. But there we were, all those white Lincoln Town Cars parked in rows on the golf course. We walked around and met people, actually met people from my home town that I didn’t know would be there. It was a beautiful weather day and we spent it chanting “Here we go Giants” and “No Way Elway”. After playing a few rounds of poker, it was announced by our leader that it was time to head to the stadium, about a 20 minute walk…and this, if you have ever been to a Super Bowl you know, is the most exciting 20 minutes of your life. It just gives you goose bumps walking with this crowd of people of all ages towards the biggest game of the year. I can still feel it now. Oddly enough, as soon as we arrived at the stadium we decided to get on the first beer line we saw, it was a long walk after all, and who is standing one person in front of me but my cousin Frank. We knew we were both going, but never managed to meet up, and now here he was standing on the same line as me.
We had made a few bets that week with people we knew, the Giants being big underdogs for some reason. At halftime the Giants trailed the Broncos 10-9, and the Bronco fans behind us were getting a little annoying. My friend and I turned and bet them $100 each that the Giants would win, and they could have the 10 points. As the 4th quarter was about midway finished they tapped us on the shoulder to pay us, we said “No, you have to stay till the end, then pay us.” They were probably the only Bronco fans left in the stands when the clock hit 0:00. The Giants had won 39-20.
Then the adventure of the week arose before us. It was now about 8:00 or so, and we made our way back to the side of the stadium we had entered and looked out towards the golf course….pitch black….there were no lights! Finding our way through the golf course, and the never ending sea of White Lincoln’s, was a trip, but it really didn’t matter, nothing would ruin this day! I want to take the time now to thank Tom Kerr, TKII, Scott Kerr, John Kerr, and Mr. Tom Maloney for making possible one of the best days of my life. My Father always said “Enjoy it, there is nothing like the first time they win”. He was right, that was a magnificent feeling.
I hope this coming Sunday will be some lucky fans special day….enjoy it, you never know when you will see it again.