EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Friday was the second annual New York Giants Fan Fest and the atmosphere was electric. While initially there were some concerns about thunderstorms those never came and we were left with clear skies and a very hot day.
Yours truly was one of the thousands of fans who attended, and here is a little flavor of what the event looked and felt like.
Parking opened up at 3 p.m. which filled up pretty quickly with the smell of BBQ grills filling the air. The music was turned up and everywhere you turned you could see smiling faces. Telling stories and catching back up with for the first Giants event at Met Life since the season ended last year. With the heat beating down, tents and cold drinks were in high demand.
Festivities are going pic.twitter.com/Eh77cjMWam— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 5, 2022
This year there was cautious optimism in the air. With the arrival of a new regime with Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll, some fans have hope that the new staff will be enough to show improvement this season. Others are excited to see this year’s rookie class, especially Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux, and are all in on these players helping kickstart the Giant’s rebuild.
After tailgating in the parking lot for a few hours lines started forming outside of MetLife stadium to get into Fan Fest which started at 5 p.m. The Giant’s G-Line was playing the drums getting the crowd ready for when they walked through the gate. While at first, it felt like you would be in that line for a while it ended up moving pretty quickly, and then you were in the stadium.
When you walk in the atmosphere was turned up a level. Music blasting over the speakers with booths set up all around MetLife. When you walk to the right was a line where you could stand and get an autograph from former Giants Mario Manningham and Deon Grant. Then there was food and drink spots where water was definitely needed before we continued around the stadium.
After that, we stopped by the Wendy’s table where we grabbed a nice rally towel that they were giving out to all the fans that stopped by. Then we hit the fan shop to grab my son a new shirt and mini football for souvenirs. The shop was packed with people grabbing merchandise, especially with a small sale on all shirts besides jerseys.
Then it was time for the kids to enjoy their part of Fan Fest. There was a spot where kids were able to run drills and end it off with a field goal attempt. This was a more popular spot as kids loved feeling like they were trying out for the team. There was also complimentary airbrush and face painting where kids could go which my son would not pass up the opportunity to take advantage of!
Drills that kids were able to run at fan fest pic.twitter.com/p1qjAboD7V— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 6, 2022
Time felt like it went by pretty quickly as thankfully the clouds started to come out to cool things down a bit. After that, you could hear the announcer kicking off scrimmage so we headed to our seats where we caught Daniel Jones and Xavier McKinney heading over to midfield for the coin toss. The lower bowl was pretty packed from my perspective for fans ready to see the team square off. The music stayed turned up the entire time, which was nice to help bring more energy into the stadium.
Fan fest was a vibe though pic.twitter.com/t8SkPiFTQQ— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 6, 2022
From there you could feel the excitement for the first team offense and defense to face off in front of the crowd. That energy stayed pretty consistent though with some slight restlessness for the offense that the crowd was notably commenting on the struggles they were having. The loudest the crowd got was for a deep pass from Tyrod Taylor in what the crowd thought ended up being a completed contested catch which ended up getting walked back. Overall fan engagement stayed throughout the first, second, and third team reps as any plays that were made were met with reactions.
After the scrimmage is where you had players throwing some of their stuff into the stands for fans to catch. There was about an hour’s wait from the end of the scrimmage to the start of the fireworks which gave some downtime but players took the time to sign autographs by the tunnel before heading in. One thing that stood out to me was how much time Saquon Barkley took to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. Barkley worked his way around the entire back half of the stadium interacting with fans. It’s pretty clear that Barkley is still the most popular player on the team with the number of fans that wanted an opportunity for a Barkley autograph. Thankfully I didn’t lose my phone in the process of the pure excitement of getting Barkley to autograph a fan’s jersey!
Players launching some stuff into the stands for fans! pic.twitter.com/X5A9vckJoy— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 6, 2022
Saqoun Barkley had the fans HYPE took the time after the scrimmage to sign so many autographs and interact with fans! pic.twitter.com/GcqJnHHETz— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 6, 2022
The pure excitement when Saquon Barkley signed this autograph. My phone almost took a massive L pic.twitter.com/9NfD1b17lC— Michael “Muggsy” Parra (@MuggsyParra) August 6, 2022
After that, there was some downtime to just catch up with friends and family and talk about everything that happened throughout the day. Shortly after that, the fireworks started which brought some joy to the crowd to end the night with a bang.
The Fan Fest experience was a fun one that the entire family enjoyed. If it was something that you thought about doing previously I would recommend it as a free event that was well worth the trip to MetLife Stadium. It is an event that makes everyone feel even more excited about the start of Giants football.