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A day covering the Giants: What’s it like trekking to N.J. and back on a game day?

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A peek at how this happens

Photo by Ed Valentine

If you have been reading Big Blue View for a while I hope you understand that one of the essential differences between this site and other “fan” sites that cover your New York Giants is that isn’t really a fan site at all. It’s not written or run that way, and that is on purpose.

I have had full season credentials from the Giants for, I think, around five seasons now. Probably longer. I started covering training camp in 2008 when that was held in Albany, just a 20-minute drive from my home. I have been granted game day credentials for at least the past seven or eight seasons.

As the Giants crawl to the finish line of yet another miserable season I thought it would be fun to pull back the curtain a bit on what it is like for me to spend a day covering the Giants. I have mentioned this before, but I live in upstate New York, in the Capital Region. It’s a 290-mile round trip for me to cover a practice or a game, which translates based on traffic and conditions to roughly five hours in the car on days I head to East Rutherford.

I get to the facility as often as I can, but not nearly as often as I want to because of that distance and time commitment.

What follows is a sort of diary of my day covering Giants vs. Miami Dolphins on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.

Saturday

This was a 1 p.m. kickoff. I like to be in my press box seat a solid three hours before kickoff as it gives me a chance to get set up, get my pre-game writing and other prep done, visit with media friends and get a bite to eat without having to rush. I am aiming to leave my home between 7 and 7:30 a.m., so I start getting ready Saturday evening.

That means figuring out what I’m wearing. You will see everything on press row from three-piece suits to jeans and sneakers with untucked shirts. I know nobody cares what I wear, and I also know I will never be Mr. 50 suits in his closet Emory Hunt of Football Gameplan, but I like to feel and look professionally dressed. So, that means digging through the closet and getting Mrs. Big Blue View’s approval for Sunday’s ensemble. Also, hoping she’s in the mood to iron. I threw her a nice birthday party mid-week, so I’m in luck!

It also means packing an overnight bag. Or, it should mean packing an overnight bag. I usually do when I’m expecting to be late getting home. For a game that ends at 4 p.m. I usually work in the press box until 7 p.m. or later, which means not getting home until at least 10 p.m. So, overnight bag.

Except, of course, for the last time I covered a game at MetLife. That would have been Giants-Green Bay Packers. No overnight bag. More than a foot of snow and impassable roads near home with terrible conditions on the New York State Thruway. That meant an overnight stay at a hotel on Route 17. With no overnight bag. No change of clothes, no toothbrush, no deodorant, Nothing. Smart move. Not happening this time.

Sunday

5:18 a.m. — No need for an alarm clock in my house. The two dogs who sleep in the room with Mrs. Big Blue View and I are just fine. My wife is already awake, so I get to sleep until 6 a.m.

6 a.m. — OK, let’s get going! Bathrobe, coffee, a few early-morning adjustments to the site, a couple of notes fired off to BBV contributors. By 6:35, time to shut it down and get ready to hit the road.

7:30 a.m. — One final check of the laptop bag (you know, it stinks to get all the way to East Rutherford before figuring out you left your power cord home) and off I go!

8:50 a.m. — While driving down the Thruway I’m always looking for cars or SUVs packed for tailgates. When I make a pitstop I always check for jerseys — it’s a good indicator of what the crowd might be like. Sadly, while I did see a couple of folks wearing Giants jerseys at the Modena rest stop the first three jerseys I saw were Miami Dolphins ones.

9:50 a.m. — I’m here! Parking Lot M. Off go the sneakers, on go the dress shoes. Text Mrs. Big Blue View to let her know I’ve arrived. You know which one of those is more important. It’s been made perfectly clear to me on those occasions that text message never got sent.

Giants fans tailgating a few hours before Sunday’s game.

10:04 a.m. — In my press box seat. I’ve been wondering if Sunday likely being the final MetLife Stadium game for Eli Manning would bring out the fans or some extra media. The fact that I’m in Seat 35 when I’m generally 10-15 seats farther down answers that. Press row is a ghost town.

There’s only one problem. There is no coffee available yet. C’mon, man, I need my Dunkin Donuts!

11:20 a.m. — Brunch! And yes, I’m going to be that guy who offers up a photo of what that looks like.

Pre-game notes: Among the folks I was able to chat with pre-game was New York Post columnist Steve Serby. Podcast fans, look for Serby on an upcoming episode.

1:10 p.m. — The Giants’ offense takes the field for the first time. Manning gets a standing ovation when he is introduced as the starting quarterback.

A quick pre-game selfie with the well-dressed Emory Hunt.

2:10 p.m. — Manning throws his first interception, leading to a Miami field goal. Now I’m not so sure this afternoon is going to have a friendly ending.

2:26 p.m. — I’m off to the lunch line. I know, I know, it seems like I just ate. But, I won’t be home until 10 p.m. or so and I’m not stopping for a meal. Thus, I’ll eat when the food is available. Oh, and I promised myself I wouldn’t eat one of those massive chocolate chip cookies along with the hot dog and waffle fries. But, you know what they say about promises. Those cookies are just too good! Note to my primary doctor — I know I need to lose 10 pounds. I’ll do that after Christmas! Right?

4:14 p.m. — Game over. Giants win! Recap filed and I’m off to the elevators with dozens of other media members to head down six floors and get to the Pat Shurmur and Eli Manning press conferences. I usually hit the locker room as well, but the story is Manning, so I will just sit tight in the interview room because PR will be bringing the coach and the quarterback to us. No need for locker room in this instance.

Back upstairs after listening to Shurmur and Manning, recording both pressers and shooting as much video as I could.

Time to tweet some video, edit stories from Chris and Joe, write my Manning post-game story.

7:03 p.m. — Done. Time to pack up, text Mrs. Big Blue View that I’m leaving, make a pit stop and head for the elevators.

A nearly vacant press row at the end of a long day.
Photo by Ed Valentine

9:52 p.m. — My driveway! As many times as I have made this trip back-and-forth over the past several years I am always thankful when I get back home. I see too many idiot drivers pulling too much stupid crap on the highway not to understand that making the trip safely is never a given.

10:15 p.m. — Unpacked, bathrobe on, my good friend Stella open on my desk with a little more work to do before I call it a night.

There you have it. Just your basic 15-hour day covering a Giants game.