This is a day in which we recognize, in my opinion, one of the greatest Giants of all time. It is a happy day because I think everybody in the organization is happy for Jeff and his family. It is a sad day because I walked around this morning and I listened to a lot of people in our organization. And their thoughts were that Jeff would be here forever. I think that is the way, honestly, we all feel.
I think in order for a guy to be as successful as he has been in all of these years, you certainly have to have a wonderful family and wonderful wife. And Michelle has been there for Jeff, behind him 100%. That is the only way this stuff works. She has been a tremendous supporter and a great lady and a great mother to their four kids. They have a wonderful family and, of course, four sons - CJ away at North Carolina and these three young men with us today. But they are always first and foremost on his mind. So for me to say anything about Jeff, I have to say and recognize his family, his sons Blake, Trevor and Zachary, and Michelle that are with us this morning.
In watching the video the other night about Magic and Bird, "A Courtship of Rivals," there is a comment in there by Larry Bird, who is talking about his father - his father going off to work with what he thought was a broken ankle and how difficult it was for him to put the boot on, and seeing him go to work. And he put it very, very simply. He said, "If people are paying you to go to work, then you have to go to work." And that is what this guy did for 22 years and never, never missed a game. It is an incredible, incredible accomplishment. I look at Jeff and I think of the privilege that I have had to be with him for these short years. I think of an individual that is totally reliable, totally dependable, totally honest, completely trustworthy, and has all of the necessary ingredients for success. As simple and basic as it is to say that, it makes you really wonder why everyone doesn't think and act the way he does. He has a tremendous, tremendous attitude and he is a great example for all young players because of his positive approach to the game. He is very smart at understanding the game. He is very smart at understanding about what it takes to be a team, to be a member of a team. And he goes out of his way - in his own position - and he has been elected captain here now because of who he is and what he represents - an elected captain here. And he has been an extremely successful leader and we are going to miss him.
He is the consummate pro. He wants to be coached. He always wanted to be better. He was the kind of guy that I really enjoyed - not only in the meeting room but on the practice field - because I knew that whatever I said to him he was going to take it in the way in which it was intended. If I was busting his butt, he would have a little smile on his face. If I was serious, there would be no smile. There would be those eyes that were always telling me that he is really trying as hard as he can. He is going to bear down and try to do better. We had a drill that I think is a tremendous drill. I love the drill. It is a competitive drill but it is a morale drill as well. We take the ball and we put it at the +45 and we tell Jeff to punt the ball down inside the 5-yard line - either out of bounds or so that the gunner can catch the ball. And I have to tell you that I will forever in my mind have a vision of Jeff Feagles, who is an incredibly talented directional punter. My vision of Jeff lofting the ball down into the corner of the field, inside the 5-yard line and David Tyree catching the ball before it goes out of bounds or before it goes into the end zone.
Now, I think you have to understand the kind of punting game that we want, the kind of football that we play in order to understand the contribution that Jeff has made. We really believe here that if we take the kickoff and put the ball at the 30-yard line and make one or maybe two first downs and then perhaps if we have to punt the ball, out comes Jeff Feagles, who has a tremendous ability to directionally punt. By the way, it is an art which is fast fading in our game. People are more concerned with driving the ball than they are with placing the ball. We are never concerned here with gross; only with net. Net was the key. And we always felt like we could count on Jeff to put the ball inside the 10, perhaps inside the 5 and force the other guy to drive the ball from deep in his end zone where there was only a four percent chance of him scoring at all. And that is the kind of punter that he has been, and the kind of example that he has been for all of us, and the legacy that he leaves here as a New York Giant.
He has even initiated what I call the Feagles Rule, which (resulted from) a few years ago when he got decked down in Philadelphia and they began to consider the safety of players at the quarterback position or at the punter position. And he is the guy that instituted that rule. I'm not going to name the guy that drilled him. But he knows exactly what I'm talking about. So in this day and age of safety, he has even made his contribution to the league in terms of the way they presented themselves in their rule changes.
I believe that the essence of coaching is the relationships which you foster along the way. And I am very, very proud - very humbled - by the opportunity that I have had to work side by side with a man who was a tremendous athlete and I think one of the greatest Giants of all time.
Jeff, let me tell you something, you are going to be missed.