RUTHERFORD, N.J.– Patrons of Rutherford's Central Barber Shop were debating a play from the previous night's New York Giants game.
They kept going back and forth, providing their analysis when a 6-foot-5-inch man, whose face was covered by his cap, spoke up.
"Everyone just looked at him," said barber shop owner Rich Donovan, 62, of Carlstadt. "They asked him, 'Did you see the game?' He said, 'No, I played in it."
That man: Big Blue wide receiver Joe Jurevicius.
That exchange was 16 years ago, but memories of that season still hang on the wall in the form of autographed pictures.
During the 2000 season, in which the Giants went 12-4 and advanced to Super Bowl XXXV, quarterback Kerry Collins, offensive coordinator Sean Payton, defensive coordinator John Fox and defensive line coach Denny Marcin were all regulars at Central.
(Payton is currently the head coach of the New Orleans Saints. Fox led the Denver Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium before joining the Chicago Bears.)
It was like seventh heaven for Donovan, a lifelong Giants fan.
"They used to give me tickets to games," he said. "It was cool, it was fun. There was a big buzz around that time."
Donovan still keeps up with the team. He thinks the Giants made the wrong first-round choice in last month's draft.
"They did OK in the draft. They could have taken that tackle, the one with the bong [Laremy Tunsil, whose Instagram featured a video of the Ole Miss athlete allegedly smoking marijuana]," said Donovan. "That was the best player on the board. They could have taken a chance with him."
Still he conceded, "they addressed a lot of their needs, [but] they still need to address the offensive tackle [position]."
No players from the cross-locker room rival Jets have come in, but Donovan has no qualms with Gang Green: He admired Joe Namath.
"He was like a rock star – and he was good," Donovan said. "So I've liked the Jets since then, too."
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