Few pro football teams have been observed at close range for longer and by a more practiced chronicler than the New York Giants. Ira Berkow was a sports columnist and feature writer for The New York Times for more than 25 years, and during that time he managed to size up such colorful figures as coach Bill Parcells and linebacker Lawrence Taylor, as well as a parade of different quarterbacks, including Fran Tarkenton, Phil Simms, and Eli Manning. Here Berkow collects some his most insightful commentaries and stories gathered while covering the Giants.
Here’s an excerpt from Giants Among Men:
“October 20, 1992
‘ East Rutherford, New Jersey – The Giants’ locker room yesterday afternoon smelled just at it normally does. Not exactly like perfume. The nostrils of visitors, though, were particularly aquiver at this time because a player on the team, linebacker Steve DeOssie, said after Sunday’s miserable 38-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams that the team had developed a certain scent. ‘We stink,’ he said.
“ ‘We just have to face reality,’ DeOssie said. ‘We stink. That’s the plain truth.’
“Soiled socks and football shoes and stained shirts from their workout yesterday were strewn about the locker room at Giants Stadium. The faces of some players were still pebbled with sweat. But here and there players, dripping from their showers, toweled and then began to spray themselves with deodorant and slap themselves with after-shave lotions.
“While this couldn’t change the play of the team, it radically improved the smell of the locker room.”