In the hallway splitting the weight room and locker room at the Timex Performance Center, the Giants recently installed a new mural commemorating the Super Bowl XLVI championship. Plastered on the opposite wall of a similar montage from the 2007 run, it will remind and motivate players as they walk through the practice facility.
But the bye-week renovation was part of a larger theme, which a 15-year-old fan from Barre, Vt., drove home better than any picture could.
Adam Merchant, diagnosed with Burkitt lymphoma, attended Giants practice on Friday and Sunday night’s game against the Packers thanks to the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. With that wish, he also had a command. As the team wrapped up its final full practice before the Green Bay game, Adam huddled up the players and told them to “play like world champions.”
And they did.
In a primetime game between the past two Super Bowl champions, the Giants jumped out to an early lead on Green Bay and didn’t rest until the final whistle blew on a 38-10 victory.
“They freaked out,” Merchant recalled after the game, sitting in front a group of reporters at Justin Tuck’s locker. The defensive captain was seated on his left while his father was on his right. “It just came from the heart.”
“They get to do whatever they want to do with that wish and he chose to come to a New York Giant game,” said Tuck, whose team broke a two-game skid. “That’s kind of humbling, the fact that a kid’s only wish is that he wants to come see us play. When he stepped out and we gave him the floor, he just came up and said we need to go out there and play like champions, play like the champions that we are. It kind of hit home.
“You’ve got this kid that doesn’t know us but from watching us on TV every Sunday and it’s so profound because certain people can tell you that, but when you see a kid, an innocent kid, come up to you and say ‘you need to play like a champion’– I told him he needs to go into motivational speaking because he kind of woke us up a little bit.”
Tags: Adam Merchant, Justin Tuck, Tom Coughlin
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