There were approximately 300 of them, family and friends with stomachs full of cutlets and baked ziti and sausage and peppers from the tailgate in parking lot G16, watching and waiting in Section 109 for their beloved Tommy DeVito to continue his magic carpet ride that has captured the imaginations of Giants fans everywhere.
And the kid did. Again.
Tommy Cutlets with the ball, 1:33 and two timeouts left, at his 25, down 1 to the Packers.
“Let’s go win the game,” Tommy Cutlets said in the huddle.
Three short completions got him to the 36.
Forty nine seconds left.
Tommy Cutlets yawned.
“It’s on us,” he said.
Fired a 32-yard bullet to Wan’Dale Robinson, to the Green Bay 22.
Gave Brian Daboll a hug and told him he loved him when Randy Bullock nailed the 37-yard field goal as time expired that gets the Giants to 5-8, still breathing their desperate playoff breath.
Tommy Cutlets hero.
Eight plays, 57 yards.
“Rally the troops,” his father had told him beforehand. “Rally the troops, it’s Monday night, you guys haven’t played well in prime time and this is your chance for redemption, the whole team.”
Tom DeVito was smoking a cigar in the Monday night cold before heading into the stadium to watch his son try to rally troops wearing blue who had been 1-16 in their last 17 prime-time games.
“They haven’t played well on Monday night, or any prime-time game as of late. So enough is enough,” Tom DeVito had said from his Cedar Grove, N.J., home earlier in the day.
Tom DeVito used to watch “Monday Night Football” with his son.
Now he was watching Tommy Cutlets quarterback the New York Football Giants along with the rest of America.
“I just want them to see that he’s a leader,” Tom DeVito told The Post. “I want them to see that he can be counted upon. And that’s the most important part about playing quarterback is the leadership role.”
His kid was Patton when it mattered the most after Saquon Barkley had nearly coughed up the game with a rare fumble at the end of a 33-yard run on the drive that would have clinched it.
“He’s all laughing, joking whenever we’re in the locker room,” Robinson said, “but whenever we get out there on the field it’s like he’s a stone-cold killer.”
A stone-cold killer who values the football more than most.
Tom DeVito and his wife Alexandra were watching him ruin the Packers with his legs and then with his right arm: a 25-yarder off a flea-flicker to Robinson, and then, after rolling right, an 8-yard bullseye on third-and-goal to Isaiah Hodgins for a touchdown, and it was Giants 21, Packers 13. Off went the fireworks.
And Tommy DeVito (17-for-21, 158 yards, 1 TD, 10-71 rushing) was raising his right hand skyward with his patented chef’s kiss amid the pandemonium and euphoria.
His father had already been kissed on the cheek by sartorially splendid agent Sean Stellato, clad in a black pinstriped suit and black hat.
NFL football, Sopranos style.
“With the confidence and the swagger he plays with,” Barkley said, “you could feel it all though the stadium, you could feel it on the sideline.”
But then … on the drive that could have sealed a 21-16 Giants win, Barkley tripped falling forward and Carrington Valentine returned it 50 yards to the Giants 36, and Jordan Love hit Malik Heath with the 6-yard TD that made it Packers 22, Giants 21 with 1:33 left.
“We’re good,” Cutlets told Barkley. “Flush it.
“We’re gonna go win the game.”
The Packers should know better than to leave Tommy DeVito that much time.
“He literally made every play you needed him to make to win the game,” Darius Slayton said.
Tommy Cutlets, three wins in a row now, smiled when asked how much he enjoys these situations.
“You enjoy it when it’s an outcome like this, right?” he said. “I enjoy being on the field any play, no matter what play it is.”
It was early in the third quarter when DeVito first offered a reminder that the moment is not too big for him.
“Probably have a 30 for 30 on him,” Slayton said.
Darnay Holmes forced a Keisean Nixon fumbled punt return that Benton Whitley recovered, and DeVito was in business at the Green Bay 31.
On second down, DeVito took off as if shot out of a cannon and was tackled just short of the goal line, a 26-yard romp that had the crowd in a frenzy, and the fireworks mistakenly going off.
“I was on the verge of celebrating, on the verge of not,” he said. Barkley took it in from the 1 anyway, and it was Giants 14, Packers 10.
DeVito was not threatening the Packers’ secondary deep. Everything was short or intermediate at best. But he sure was threatening them with his legs.
“It’s something I’m comfortable with, I’ve done it in high school, I’ve done it in college,” he said.
The pregame festivities resembled the San Gennaro Festival. Or the San DeVito Festival.
“We’re giving the whole Italian show,” Tom DeVito had said. “It’s gonna be craziness. We’re gonna give ’em the Italian theater they’ve been asking for. Three hundred chicken cutlets, got Italian sandwiches, baked ziti, sausage and peppers, rice balls — everything Italian. I’m gonna have my guys setting up sandwiches with Italian headbands on. We got an Italian flag with Tommy’s picture on it. They’ve been begging for it. We’re gonna give it to ’em.”
Tommy DeVito on Cloud 15.
“As a quarterback you have to be able to stay even through it all,” he said.
This story originally appeared on NYPost