Justin Tuck keeps his on the mantel in his bedroom.
“I see it every time I wake and every time I go to sleep,” the Giants defensive end said yesterday.
Kareem McKenzie leaves his on his desk, “because that’s where I do important work.”
Dave Tollefson keeps his in his truck so it’s there when he goes to work. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks put theirs on tops of the dressers in their respective bedrooms.
“I see it there and it’s a reminder I’m fully committed to the task at hand,” Cruz said.
They are poker chips, symbols to remind the players of what started out as a teaching tool, but has grown into a full-fledged rally cry that will follow the Giants to Green Bay Sunday when they meet the Packers in an NFC Divisional playoff game.
ELION PAZ, ANTHONY J. CAUSI
POKER FACE: Ever since Gian-Paul Gonzalez (above), a teacher at Union City High School in New Jersey, met with the Giants before Christmas and handed them poker chips, the words “All in” have appeared on towels (inset) and become Big Blue’s motto.
It was written on the white towels distributed at the Giants’ regular-season finale against the Cowboys and their playoff win over the Falcons at MetLife Stadium, but “All in” started with poker chips that were passed out at chapel the Friday night before the Giants played the Jets on Christmas Eve.
There were about 15 Giants at the gathering, where team chapel leader George McGovern had invited Gian-Paul Gonzalez to speak. Gonzalez, a former basketball player at Montclair State, who now teaches at Union City High School in New Jersey, has a Christian ministry called 4-One that uses sports to spread a message of hope to young people.
Gonzalez, 28, was determined to say something that would leave an impression. Since it was Christmas, he opened with the commitment Joseph showed Mary during the birth of the baby Jesus and how as men they needed to be fully committed to what they believe. “Sometimes we’ve got to step up and be all in,” he told the group. “You have to be willing to say, ‘I’m going to be all in and risk everything and bet everything.’ ”
To illustrate his point, Gonzalez handed each player at the chapel a poker chip and had them initial one side and put their number or whatever was meaningful on the other side. In a symbol of unity they all pushed the chips into the center of a table. They were all in.
The chips are now personal reminders of their commitment as men, husbands, fathers and teammates. “Guys can understand that at some point you have to push your chips in the middle of the table for something,” defensive end Chris Canty said. “Everybody can relate to that.”
Offensive lineman Kevin Boothe added: “It’s a mentality we took on toward the end of the season when we had to win. It’s about being willing to do whatever is asked of you and even volunteering to do things that you normally wouldn’t do.”
Tuck first spoke about being “All in” after the Giants dismissed the Jets 29-14, and 80,000 fans trumpeted the theme with white towels against the Cowboys and Falcons. Tuck didn’t expect it to become a rallying cry, but isn’t surprised.
“ ‘All in’ has so many different meanings,” he said. “It also means this football team giving every ounce of energy and effort to win football games.”
It starts with being “All in” during practice.
“We’re not always committed to the patient process of hard work and having the appropriate determination necessary to achieve something,” McKenzie said. “When you’re all in to something and committed to something there’s no short sidedness involved with that.”
Added linebacker Michael Boley: “When you say, ‘All in’ you should feel like you have nothing left when you walk off the field. Everybody’s all in; mind, body and soul.”
Gonzalez admits he’s taken aback by the way “All in” has caught on. “I was hoping it would help them,” he said. “I didn’t think it would go this far. I just knew it inspired me.”
It will inspire the Giants all the way to Green Bay.
Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/sports/giant...#ixzz1jPPvGxk2