It’s your birthday. It will be your 65th birthday, but you drive to work fearing this won’t be a happy birthday.
And this is because you will spend your birthday watching your beloved 2-9 Giants try to defend MetLife Stadium from the great Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
You will hear Giants fans calling for coach Pat Shurmur’s head, and you might feel the way your father felt when they were singing “Goodbye Allie, we hate to see you go.”
Hell, you weren’t even 22 years old when they flew that “15 Years of Lousy Football We’ve Had Enough” banner over what used to be known as Giants Stadium, the year your beloved Giants lost a franchise-record nine consecutive games. And you can still see the Eagles’ Herm Edwards taking that Joe Pisarcik fumble to the house even before you turned 24 years old, can’t you?
Happy Birthday, John Mara.
It has been such an emotional year for you, from the Odell Beckham Jr. trade to Shurmur pulling the plug on the Eli Manning Era after two lousy games … your beloved Eli Manning … your $23.2 million backup quarterback.
You will peer down from your press box perch, and the sights and sounds of cheeseheads will deflate you.
You yearn for the days when Bill Parcells stalked the sidelines, and the cold and the wind conspired against visitors, and the raucous stands were filled with a proud blue army clad in No. 56 and No. 11 jerseys. And then No. 92 and No. 10 jerseys.
It has been a painful seven years for you since Super Bowl XLVI, and a painful seven weeks, and the realist in you can only expect these three hours from 1-4 p.m. to be every bit as painful.
You don’t want to fire another head coach after two seasons, it isn’t the Giants Way, and you are searching desperately for reasons to still believe in Shurmur, to believe that he can guide Daniel Jones to greatness when and if the cavalry arrives and the rebuilding ends, if it ever does.
But 7-20 is 7-20. You recall someone you admire saying that you are what your record says you are, and that there are no medals for trying. Now there was a guy — a Jersey Guy — who was built for this.
You will be trying to convince yourself that your head coach keeping the locker room from fracturing and not losing to the Redskins and Dolphins and nurturing and developing Jones won’t force you to fire a good man with three years remaining on his contract.
The very last thing you want to be thinking about on your birthday is a nuclear winter scenario on Dec. 29: the hated Eagles winning the division against your 2-13 Giants, saddled with an historic 11-game losing streak, and MetLife looking and sounding like the Linc.
Shurmur was the adult in the room at a time when you sure needed one, and no one should have expected him to win with a rookie quarterback and so much youth and inexperience until 2020. But you’ve read your emails. Every single one of them.
The thought of landing Ohio State defensive end Chase Young in April’s draft will appeal to you more than it does right now.
You brought Dave Gettleman back home and trusted him when he vowed he would kick ass and fix the offensive line, and here we are.
You will not for one second entertain the thought of marching into the pregame locker room and Knute-ing: “Win one for me!” because it isn’t the Mara Way.
You will hear the omnipresent boobirds, and if the oddsmakers are right, you will dread the drive home, and of course you will know better than to listen to talk radio.
This is your life. And it’s been a great life. At times a Super life. You watched your Hall of Fame father Wellington weather the fiercest of storms. Now it is your turn. Your storm. It will still be your birthday when you get home. Maybe there will be a cake waiting for you.
Better a scotch and water.
Happy Birthday, John Mara.
For more on the Giants, listen to the latest episode of the “Blue Rush” podcast:
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