Hakeem Nicks’s grim running joke with his high school coach about how he would keep working hard and thus never “wear the paper hat” of a menial fast-food worker. Chris Canty’s Bronx early childhood as the son an accomplished administrator of government programs. Will Beatty’s childhood speech impediment, which caused him to turn inward and cultivate an impressive array of artistic talents. Antrel Rolle’s faithful adherence, both while playing football and conducting interviews, to abide by the recklessness of that inner “dog.” Eli Manning’s second Super Bowl-winning drive as the requiting of a long ago love letter from the Giants’ general manager.
Lost amid the frantic, soap-operatic coverage of the NFL is the fact that each player is the star of his own compelling drama. Here is the story of the 2011 New York Giants, told through the stories of the team’s players themselves.