Jersey Mic Drop

Just when all hope had seemingly been lost for the long-suffering fans of the New York Giants, which any respectable Garden State resident knows have called the state of New Jersey home for 47 years, their season has been saved by the unlikliest of saviors.  Someone who called said state  home for his entire life, and who is now one of its most celebrated residents on the heels of a breakout performance on MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL.   AS CBS NEWS NEW YORK’s Nick Calloway wrote:

Tommy DeVito stole the show on Monday night.

The rookie quarterback has led Giants to three straight wins, and even the possibility of making the playoffs.

With plenty of Italian flair, DeVito, affectionately known as “Cutlets,” headlined quite a spectacle on Monday night, leading the Giants to a come-from-behind 24-22 win over the visiting Green Bay Packers.

And given the fact that this game was being covered by the Manning brothers on ESPN2, especially given one’s history as a Giants quarterback and the other’s pronounced love of chicken cutlets, especially when prepared as part of a parmigiana sub, this provided DeVito the chance to become a household name far beyond the TMZ of MetLife Stadium, where Calloway reminds the one-time quarterback for Syracuse and, later, the University of Illinois, who went undrafted and only signed with the Giants during training camp as a taxi squad addition, still lives with his parents and is, like so many nice Italian kids from Jersey, just a kid from the ‘hood who done good:

Neighbors recall following his career early on.  “He was working out, through college and stuff, and I’d see him and yell over to him and say, ‘Keep going! Let’s go, let’s go!” Andy Borbonus said.   “I mean, it could have been anybody’s kid. I guess that’s the pride of it. He represents us all,” neighbor Rich Williams said.

His performance on the field evoked memories of what Eli Manning had done on the same field, and, of course, in neutral site Super Bowls.  CBS Sports’ Zach Pereles reminded exactly how much DeVito accomplished:

With his team up 21-16, Saquon Barkley burst into the open and looked to have (nearly) sealed the game. But then he stumbled, regained his footing, fell untouched … and fumbled. 

On the ensuing drive, Jordan Love found Malik Heath for a terrific touchdown. The Giants stopped the two-point conversion attempt.

Then came DeVito time: an eight-play, 57-yard drive — with 32 yards coming on a throw to Wan’Dale Robinson — and Randy Bullock nailing the 37-yard game-winning field goal.

One could say his performance could be graded a friggin’ A.

But amidst all of this, DeVito provided a cadre of supporters who merited their own 15 minutes of fame, and boy did the Manning bros elevate him to icon status, even in the Boston Globe, as their Emma Healy documented:

Sean Stellato wasn’t expecting to be caught by ABC’s cameras during Monday’s Giants-Packers game, but he certainly dressed the part.

The sports agent from Salem was decked out in a black pinstripe suit and matching fedora and became — almost instantly — an internet celebrity.

And as NJ.com’s Manuel Gomez added, were THE SOPRANOS still being produced, it’s quite likley Stellato would have been heading to its set sometime soon, thanks again to the attention of ESPN talent:

Dressed in all black – the pinstriped suit, turtle neck and fedora — Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning described him best on “The ManningCast,” saying, “He looks like Johnny Fontane from ‘The Godfather’.”  After helping the Giants get their first lead in the game in the third quarter, ESPN’s Joe Buck and Troy Aikman reacted to a shot of Stellato celebrating with DeVito’s family members in the stands.  This guy, the agent, may break the internet,” Buck proclaimed, as DeVito’s father and Stellato exchanged kisses on the cheek. “What the heck’s going on?” added Aikman.

Well, Troy, something that Giants fans certainly haven’t seen under the leadership of Daniel Jones.  Or, even for that matter, Eli Manning, Or, for that matter, any other quarterback who has attempted to lead them in games in the Meadowlands swamps.   As Pereles further pointed out:

  • DeVito is the first Giants quarterback to win three straight starts with a 100+ passer rating and zero interceptions since Fran Tarkenton (!!!) in 1970.
  • DeVito is just the third undrafted rookie to win three straight starts — and the first to do so without throwing an interception.

Fran Tarkenton never played a down as a Giant in New Jersey.

So one can almost forgive the giddiness and pride that is on display as the Giants somehow cling to life in a mediocre NFC.  Yes, things will get tougher–half of the remaining four games are against the Eagles, and the last time they met the Giants in the 2022 playoffs, things didn’t go well– a 38-7 trouncing that was the largest margin of victory between playoff opponents from the same division since such a  possibility began in 1970.

For now, DeVito won’t have to buy a meal, certain not a chicken parm, and were he not married he’d likely have his pick of any hotter Italian dish from Gina in Edison to Christine in Paterson, and probably their moms were he interested.  He’s already being compared to the Knicks’ Jeremy Lin, who came out of nowhere a decade ago to give another struggling franchise a brief respite from irrelevance with equally stirring performances that electrified his community as well as the long-suffering fans.  But that kind of fame can be fleeting, so I’m inclined to strike while this iron is as hot as Gina or Christine.

So forgive my aggressiveness, but, hey, Jersey Mike’s, dont’cha think pairing up this DeVito with the one you already have might be able to move a few chicken parm subs of your own.  I mean, come on, you did see TWINS, right?

Dig in, and fuhgetabout the calories, ya heah?

 

 

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