Twenty nine! That is the number sticking in my head right now as I try to figure out what to write about.
I was never great at math … a little above average at it. I never enjoyed it and never saw the need for it. I was a big English and writing guy (even though I’m not superb at it either … as you can see … but I am trying) which is why I am enjoying this part of the equation so much. The ironic thing is that, for someone that was so down on math, I truly think in numbers now. I size everything up in sixes and dozens (due to the packaging of raw goods … footballs, helmets, baseballs, etc). I even get thrown off a little bit when someone wants to do 100 baseballs or footballs. Why would you not do 96 or 108?
I think about jersey numbers and statistics constantly. I think in piece counts. I think in terms of championship years (1969, 1986, 1996, 1998, 2000 and 2007). You get the idea. Today the number 29 is significant to me. Earlier today, the 29th Giant signed our incredible team pieces. The project is not over yet as we still have a few more guys signing over the next few days, but 29 is making me extremely proud of the work we have done thus far.
So, with that in mind, here is a recap of hectic week of signing.
The first guy to sign was tight end Kevin Boss. He was definitely the guinea pig of the whole process. While doing a team signing, it takes a few laps around to truly get a feel for the situation. It is always necessary to make some adjustments along the way in the setup and in general as to maximize the productivity of the athlete and minimize the time it takes to sign, because, before you know it, another group is going to pop in hungry to sign the very items you are stuck on.
It took Boss a little more than three hours to sign the team pieces. Before we knew it, there were three more guys waiting to sign, and by night’s end we were up to four signatures. I went home late Tuesday night rethinking the whole setup. What needs to be changed around? How many stations are needed so that three or four Giants could sign at the same time without confusion?
The next morning I made the necessary halftime adjustments and was ready to roll when the first signer arrived. It was pretty simple, as I just moved around a few helmets and brought a few more tables in. As simplistic as it was, I was elated at 11 a.m. when there were four players signing. With the new plan and some serious help from a cast of my co-workers, we got through Day 2 unscathed. Not only was I in decent shape with help and space (which will actually be a huge theme in my next entry, where I will give my final thoughts on the team signing) but the product was really starting to shape up.
By the start of Day 3, I began to notice a small conglomerate of people that work in our complex, along with fans in general, congregating outside our office. The secret was out … the Giants are here! Ironically, word could not have traveled on a busier day. Super Bowl XLII MVP Eli Manning was slated to arrive a mere hour after the group set up camp. Eli was greeted by thunderous applause (as he should) as he made his way into our office. Not only was Manning signing, but we also had Plaxico Burress, Antonio Pierce and another large group coming that afternoon. The fans were great, and a few players even signed some items and took photos with them.
Thursday (Day 3) finally wound down at about 9 p.m. That was our earliest finish yet, and it gave us all a chance for a decent night’s sleep.
Day 4 was Friday. It was early Friday morning that I began a process which I have continued up until today. I began looking at and counting names on every single piece. Over the course of a team signing, there are always a few casualties. The key is discovering them on the spot. Basically, every subpar signature and smudge is either immediately wiped off or just re-signed right then (and the other is eventually wiped off).
So there I went with numbers again … counting signatures on the helmets, photos, jerseys, etc. All the pieces were looking so strong, and I was/am determined that they are all equally robust (and they are).
Day 4 was also the day that the offensive linemen came in to sign. Those were undoubtedly the most enjoyable of all the signings. These guys know each other so well and, as you would expect, are unmerciful ball busters. All of them were able to finish the signing except for David Diehl, who came back Saturday morning to complete his obligation. Jay Alford, who absolutely pummeled Tom Brady late in the game, was the last to sign Friday. We were done by 7 p.m. – the earliest night to date.
That brings me to Saturday, where I finished up with Diehl in the morning. After David finished the pieces, I began setting up for Rangers legend Eddie Giacomin (even with the Giants team project there was other work to be done). Eddie was in town for an appearance at Last Licks Armonk on the following day with another Rangers great, John Vanbiesbrouk. Eddie always likes to come in a day early for a public appearance so that he can knock out the bulk of the private pieces ahead of time. It was a good thing that Giacomin did sign Saturday since Sunday’s appearance was a huge success. He definitely would not have been able to complete everything Sunday, as there was a huge crowd on hand and he had a flight to make. For more on the Beeze and Eddie appearance check out my blog at www.Steinersports.com.
Day 4 was today, where we had three guys sign … Kareem McKenzie, Jared Lorenzon and Kawika Mitchell. I began the day like all the others … counting names and doing a quality control check. It was, by far, the most manageable of the days. The process is almost at its end, and I am as proud of these pieces (and all the people that helped make it happen) as I have ever been about a project. Before leaving the office, I did another spot check count of names, inscriptions, jersey numbers, etc. … which brings me back to my original point about numbers. We are at 29 names now on our limited-edition 2007 Super Bowl XLII Champion Giants team project. While I definitely throw around a lot of adjectives (both on here and my blog), they are the strongest 29 signings I have ever been involved in. I am already looking forward to Day 5 and cannot wait for you all to see this amazing product once it is completed.
Next week I will recap the finale of the signing and talk a little about this incredible product line. I will also be flying out to Oregon next Tuesday for an exclusive signing, so there should be plenty to talk about.
Have a great week!
For more information on Eric and his blog visit www.SteinerSports.com and the Steiner Marketplace at www.SteinerMarketplace.com.