A pair of second-year players stole the show.
While Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning elicited the loudest roars during the celebration at MetLife Stadium on Tuesday, he was closely followed by the ovations for sophomore players Jason Pierre-Paul and Victor Cruz. The fans chanted "JPP" for the defensive end and yelled out "Cruuuuz" for the wide receiver during the pep rally.
"It's New York City, baby," Pierre-Paul said of his ovation.
When the Giants arrived on their elevated stage and the players had been introduced, a video was shown highlighting the season and included plenty of big plays from the pair. It showed Cruz's long touchdowns against the Eagles, Jets and Cowboys, as well as his Super Bowl touchdown, while Pierre-Paul's sacks were shown as well as his game-winning blocked field goal against the Cowboys.
The video reinforced the notion that without those two players, the Giants would not have been crowned champions. Pierre-Paul had 16.5 sacks and was the steadiest player on defense while Cruz was third in the league in receiving yards and had a knack for the big play. His 99-yard touchdown against the Jets potentially saved the season for the Giants.
"It was awesome to experience this in just my second year," Pierre-Paul said. "Man, it's a blessing. We just got to say humble as a team and see what the future holds for us."
After the pep rally ended, Cruz, a native of Paterson, N.J., ran around the stadium and slapped hands with fans to reciprocate the love. It was a special moment for the homegrown receiver who went from being undrafted to becoming one of the top statistical receivers in the league almost overnight.
"It was amazing," Cruz said. "To be from Jersey and to come back and celebrate with the people I grew up with, it's something I always dreamed of doing."
Due to his play this season, Pierre-Paul has been compared to many legendary Giants' defensive players like Lawrence Taylor, but the defensive end wasn't that concerned with those comparisons. He's going to continue to play what he calls great football and is going to continue to be himself.
Only next season, he'll be doing it as a Super Bowl champion.
"Honestly, it didn't hit me until today. We are Super Bowl champions," Pierre-Paul said. "It's an honor to be a part of this organization and to play New York Giant football."