EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Super Bowl XLVI champion New York Giants arrived at Newark International Airport from Indianapolis at approximately 1:55 p.m. on Monday, and bused over to their practice facility about a half hour later, where they were greeted by about 200 raucous fans.
Fans lined up about three to four people deep at the gates of the practice facility, waiting to get a glimpse of their heroes. They also lined up the exits, waving goodbye to the playerswhile also slapping hands and getting some autographs from the champions.
Safety Antrel Rolle fired up fans as he exited the bus, pumping his arms. Defensive end Justin Tuck came over and slapped some fives. The fans chanted "Eli! Eli!" for Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, but he couldn't make it since he was still in Disney World.
Later, kicker Lawrence Tynes came over to the gates and signed a few autographs. A text from one fan read, "Oh my god, Tynes just shook my hand!!!"
"It feels great with all these people," defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy said.
At the exit, the players received adulation from the fans. Fans got to see some of their favorite Giants like running back Ahmad Bradshaw, offensive lineman David Diehl and even co-owner John Mara and coach Tom Coughlin. The coach and owner's cars were swarmed as fans yelled out "thank you" and "congratulations."
The players couldn't help but enjoy the moment.
"Champions," backup center Jim Cordle said. "That's all you have to say."
Added long snapper Zak DeOssie: "There's no words to describe it."
Rolle slapped hands with fans as he left while others like wide receiver Hakeem Nicks and cornerback Prince Amukamara signed autographs for the fans. Plenty of fans were able to head home on the day with autographed memorabilia.
"It feels good, man," Nicks said of the Super Bowl win. "It means a lot (to have these fans here for us)."
For Amukamara, he had the thrill of winning a title in his first season in the NFL. The Giants' first-round draft pick said his rookie year was "for sure" like a dream season.
"It feels amazing, but I know it doesn't always happen like this," Amukamara said of winning a title as rookie. "I'm grateful."
For the fans, getting to interact with the Super Bowl champions and see them as they returned to New Jersey was a great moment. Billy Nisivoccia, a 42-year-old from Livingston, N.J., was with his five-year-old son, Billy, and was able to get autographs from Nicks and Amukamara on a football for his son.
"This is very cool," Nisivoccia said. "It's nice for them to embrace the fans. We're very happy with the success they had. What can you say, it's the second championship in four years."
Kevin O'Connor, a 43-year-old from Secaucus, N.J., brought his daughter, Hailey, and son, Daniel, to the Timex Performance Center. His children were too young to come to the facility back in 2007, but he turned it into a family affair this time around. They plan to attend the parade on Tuesday.
"It's great for the kids, not too many people get to experience a Super Bowl and they can go their whole life without doing it and they got to experience two of them already," O'Connor said. "It's great. I just posted on Facebook before I came out, I said, 'Great day to be a Giant fan, taking the kids out to Giants Stadium to welcome home the Super Bowl champions.' "
Fresh off their heart-stopping 21-17 victory over the New England Patriots, the Giants will get to spend Monday night at home before waking up Tuesday and taking part in what should be an electric ticker-tape parade in lower Manhattan. The parade begins at 11 a.m. at Battery Place and Washington Street and continuing north up the Canyon of Heroes to Worth Street. The parade will commence with a ceremony at City Hall, where Mayor Michael Bloomberg will present the team with the keys to the city.
"Big Blue gave us a game to remember, and on Tuesday we're going to give them a parade to remember," Bloomberg said.
The city will conduct a public giveaway for 250 winners (500 tickets) to the ceremony, according to a nyc.gov press release. Fans can enter through nyc.gov and 311 by phone or text by sending a text message to 311692.
The city will set up three large screens around city hall for members of the public to watch the ceremony, the press release said. There will be additional PATH trains running to the World Trade Center, and fans are encouraged to take the R, J, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 subway lines to get to the parade.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced on Twitter that the team will also hold a rally at MetLife Stadium beginning at 3 p.m.
Matt Ehalt and Mike Mazzeo are regular contributors to ESPNNewYork.com.