Berger’s Burg: L.T. and Phil, the Giants need you again

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It has been three weeks, four days, 14 hours and 23 seconds since the regular football season ended dismally for my Giants. Ugh! I have not smiled once in all that time except when the auto mechanic advised that my ‘90 car was repairable and I didn’t have to buy a new one.

Gloria insisted that it is time for me to snap out of my funk and face the reality of the very disappointing season, which ended with the Giants winning just seven games and losing nine others. No Super Bowl, no playoffs and no winning season for the Giants.

This was a monumental letdown. We fans expected bigger things from the Giants, who were one of the two championship teams that played in last year’s Super Bowl. The noise of their crash still rings in my ears.

Can I blame the descent on injuries, poor officiating, inexperience at several key positions, the weather, the aftermath of two devastating one-point losses or the Sept. 11 tragedy? No to all of these.

Whom, then, can I blame? I don’t know. But I do know what would make them contenders again.

I racked my brain and came up with the appropriate answer. What the team needs is the return of its two former stars — “L.T.” (Lawrence Taylor, the great linebacker) and Phil (Phil Simms, the nonpareil quarterback), both of whom retired in 1993. But now, with the team struggling, there is an urgent need for them to return

The problem is, how does one get them to unretire and resume play with the Giants? Simple. Let them read some advantages of coming back which, hopefully, might convince them to put their pads on again.

Loyalty — Fellows, you both know you were true-blue Giants and your blood still flows “Giants’ Blue.” Remember hearing the shouts of thousands of fans at Giants Stadium screaming your names? Wouldn’t you feel comfortable wearing the proud Giants uniform once again? And importantly, you would help get even with those Philadelphia Eagles who embarrassed the Giants twice this season. The team needs you, the media need you and Gloria needs a much happier me. Need I say more?

Nostalgia — Listen, guys, I researched the Giants’ archives and found an appropriate ode (a noble poem) to the Giants written in 1934 by sportswriter Tom McCarthy. If this doesn’t get your mojos working nothing else will:

No team in all my memory

Ever battled on to victory

With greater vim or showed more fight (No wonder I’m inspired to write.)

Yes, all these lads, it seems to me

Out game their foes consistently

Refusing to admit defeat

Keeping cool ‘mid gridiron heat

Fall furnishes each year, you see

On Sunday’s opportunity

Of watching stars with names renowned

Try all their tricks in gaining ground

Believe me. These boys know their stuff

A Pro League must be tough

Learning even after college.

Lots of further football knowledge.

Give me a team which shows real class

In kicking and the forward pass

A team with such defensive skill

No foe can ever gain a will

These football traits, I must confess,

Spell out the GIANTS team’s success!

L.T., Phil, how does that ode grab you?

Fans — Gentlemen, if for no other reason, do it for the fans, the most fervent in all creation. I am not the only nut to love the Giants, you know. One of the many others is Richard Casey, a federal judge in New York. Unfortunately, illness robbed him of his sight one month after watching the Giants win the 1986 Super Bowl. However, once a Giants fan, always a Giants fan. Undeterred, Judge Casey listens to the all Giants games on the radio and makes annual visits to the games to bathe once again in the dizzying atmosphere of Giants football.

Then there is Bayside’s own Dr. Robert Scharfman (who sits next to Gloria and me at Giants Stadium). He cheers so loudly that I never hear Gloria complain when I spill hot chocolate over her.

And Ev Parker, a former NYPD lieutenant from Queens Village, who retired to Napa, Calif. and still follows the fortunes of the Giants religiously.

Even former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, the wild Yankee fan, is almost as wild a Giants fan.

I can’t forget my grandsons, 8-year-old Justin and Brendan, 7, who were too young to have seen you play in person.

And of course, there is the infinite number of other “mishugina” Giant fans who love you and the team.

Personal Tribute — Guys, in the event my arguments may not convince you to return to active duty, Gloria and I went one step further. We visited the inner sanctuary of Giants Stadium where, within its vast walls (above the spot where Jimmy Hoffa is buried), hangs that famous Giant-sized photograph of both of you hugging, following your final football game as Giants. We spoke to your photograph and, hopefully, you will hear us and heed our request. Really, fellows, we need you.

But if you still don’t want to come back, that’s OK. We will always have the memories of your great years as players to cherish. We are sure that the Giants will regroup and eventually return the championship to New York. In the meantime, we can dream can’t we?

Reach columnist Alex Berger by e-mail at or call 229-0300, Ext. 139.

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