Thanksgiving was about turkey and touchdown celebrations.
The Bears won the day, with a Motown-inspired celebration in Detroit as former Giants draft pick Prince Amukamara sang into the football like a microphone, Deon Bush acted as an orchestra conductor and the other defenders danced in sync to celebrate an interception.
Honorable mention goes to Bears safety Eddie Jackson for leading a calisthenics workout as his teammates shuffled left, right, jumped and hit the ground on his command.
And to Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott for making a $21 donation (same as his jersey number) to the Salvation Army’s huge kettle in the back of the end zone after he was handed cash by someone in the end zone.
And to Cowboys wide receiver Amari Cooper for his cross-sport recognition, mimicking 76ers star Markelle Fultz’s ugly free-throw shooting routine.
It raised the bar for the Giants defense, which has stuck to the same script — running together for a group photo in front of media cameras — since Alec Ogletree’s end zone interception in a Week 3 win against the Texans.
The celebration has gone from organically created to highly anticipated.
“We’ve kept going with it so far,” Ogletree said. “We enjoy it. We have guys run off the bench to come and be in the photo. It’s fun to see all the guys and be celebrating with your teammates.”
After generating just nine takeaways in their first nine games, the Giants forced four interceptions against the Buccaneers and are invested in the adage “turnovers come in bunches.”
If so, that means plenty of opportunities to get creative Sunday against the Eagles.
“Now it’s a trend. We’ve got to step it up,” linebacker Kareem Martin said of the posed team photo. “I’ve got one in my mind. I’m going to run it by some people. Can’t leak it out.”
The Giants think of themselves as “trend-setters,” but the Saints want credit for the idea from 2017.
Ogletree dropped to a knee as teammates gathered around him for a group photo after returning an interception for a touchdown last week. Safety Michael Thomas had an interception at the 12-yard line and the defense still made its way to mug for the end zone cameras.
“It depends on who makes the play,” Ogletree said. “Some people have the same pose, some people have different pose. A few teams have their stuff choreographed and very well thought out. You’ll have to wait and see if we do. I can’t spoil it. You’ll find out soon enough.”
The NFL relaxed its stance on allowing group touchdown celebrations in 2017, even though props and perceived taunting still are not permitted. The result has been a widespread display of creativity.
“It used to be a penalty. That’s the crazy part,” defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson said. “I like it because it brings the defense closer together to have the ability to do something like that.”
Added Ogletree, “It lets you show your emotions. You are not harming anybody. Just having fun with your teammates and giving the fans a show to see.”
If the Giants want to take a page out of the Bears’ Thanksgiving playbook and go opponent-themed, how about these suggestions:
- A “Rocky” montage or an imaginary cheesesteak feast against the Eagles?
- Duplicating the Lincoln Memorial pose against the Redskins?
- A mobsters reenactment or tossing the imaginary deep dish pizza dough against the Bears?
- A country music dance line against the Titans?
- Dressing in imaginary boots, a belt buckle and and hat against the Cowboys?
- A race car driving scene as an ode to the Indianapolis 500 against the Colts?
“It’s almost like a competition with other defenses, if you think about it,” Martin said.
When will the Giants offense get involved in a group celebration?
“We’ll leave that up to the skill guys,” left guard Will Hernandez said. “We’ll go celebrate with our guys, for sure. But when talking about the dances, we’re not too good at that, us big guys.”
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