Where does the Giants’ fan base rank among NFL teams?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 31: Fans show their support for Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium on December 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 18-10. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 31: Fans show their support for Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants during the second half at MetLife Stadium on December 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants defeated the Redskins 18-10. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images) /

The New York Giants have been playing in the NFL since 1925. Only the Bears, Cardinals and Packers have been around longer. Their fan base is a loyal one that has followed them faithfully to six stadiums in three states over their nine-and-a-half decade existence.

Where does New York Giants’ fan base rank among the other teams in the NFL?

That’s a great question. Giant fans believe they are the best, as do all fan bases, but we know that some are more passionate than others.

I rate fan bases on how well they travel. You can pretty much guess which teams they are. Dallas, Oakland and Green Bay come to mind.  The Giants’ fans travel well, too. They are well represented on the road.

I also look at home attendance but that is a bit unfair since some teams have bigger stadiums than others. In 2018, Dallas drew 732,948 fans which was by far the most of the 32 NFL teams.

But they don’t have the biggest venue. AT&T has a capacity of 80,000. The Los Angeles Coliseum, MetLife Stadium, FedEx Field and Lambeau Field can all seat more.

Numbers don’t always tell the story when it comes to fan bases, however. Some of the most ardent fans root for some teams with the lowest attendance in the league such as the Bears, who drew less than 500,000 fans in 2018.

Getting back to Giant fans, Big Blue drew 615,525 fans last season at home (76,940 per game), which was the fourth-highest in the NFL behind the Cowboys, Jets and Packers. That makes sense since those teams play in three of the five largest venues in the league.

Buy what about passion? In a recent article run by Yardbarker, Giant fans ranked 11th out of 32. I can see that. Giant fans have historically been on the reserved side, mainly because the fans were used to winning in the 1950s and early 1960s.

During the wilderness years (1964-80), fans were pushed from pillar to post, state to state and stadium to stadium to follow their sagging Giants. Plus, when the Giants played home games they rarely sold out, so New York area fans were unable to watch on television due to the NFL’s blackout rules.

That created more Jets fans and less Giants fans in the 60s and 70s, since the Jets won a Super Bowl and were more attractive to the younger generation.

It also created more fans of other teams in the New York Metro Area. Since young fans couldn’t watch the Giants, they became fans of the teams they did see on TV: Dallas, Miami, Green Bay, Minnesota, Oakland, Pittsburgh, and later, San Francisco.

The Yardbarker piece gets some things right and other things wrong, but overall, its a fair assessment.

"“Big Blue fans are just Yankees fans who remember that football exists. However, they are pretty loyal when you get right down to it, and though they are definitely the “snobs” of the New York football scene — which makes Jets fans the slobs, of course — their passion is real and their tolerance for bad football minimal. Giants fans expect the most out of their team, but they also have a good sense of when their guys just don’t have it.”"

I disagree with the first sentence. Not everyone is a Yankee fan in New York. In fact, New York was  – and still may be – a National League city. And the Giants are far from an afterthought. Maybe to some, but the Giants are one of the most popular teams in all of American team sports. In New York, they are second only to the Yankees…and not by much.

The Giants fans or yore were Giants baseball fans. They both played in the Polo Grounds until the mid-late 1950s. The football Giants moved to Yankee Stadium in 1956. Before that, there were actually professional football teams named the New York Yankees (and Yanks from1950-51) and the Brooklyn Dodgers (1930-43).

Almost all began rooting for the Giants when the others went belly up.  When the baseball Giants and Dodgers left in 1957, many of those fans became Mets fans in 1962. Some became Jets fans, too, but the Jet craze didn’t really begin until they signed Joe Namath in 1965.

I agree about the tolerance and the fans’ recognition of when the team isn’t going anywhere. The fans show disappointment but rarely boo unless warranted and that’s another issue the Yardbarker piece mentioned.

"“The only real complaint about this group is that sometimes, the fans could stand to be more rabid. I’ve met Giants fans who live and die with their team, but there’s always a little bit of dignity there.”"

I agree, especially at MetLife Stadium. Giants Stadium was a utilitarian structure with few amenities. You sat in your seat and watched the game. MetLife is a food court with a football game going on in the center. The distractions keep fans from being in their seats for the entire game, giving the impression the fans are apathetic to the action.

Also, when MetLife was built nearly a decade ago, the Giants priced out many diehards who had been attending games for decades. The team jacked up the prices on the best seats in the house and also attached personal seat licenses to every seat.

The secondary ticket market also cuts into the action as season ticket holders are forced to sell off several games to afford the games they want to attend. Many times, those tickets are bought by ticket brokers who sell to corporations for business use and fans of other teams grab many of those tickets as well.

This is not a Giants-centric issue, but years ago when my family had season ducats at Giants Stadium (Sec 109) the place was packed with Giant fans. You rarely saw a Cowboys, Redskins or Eagles jersey in the place.