On Thursday, Antonio Pierce announced his retirement.
Former Giants linebacker and defensive captain Antonio Pierce decided to call it quits. In 2005, Pierce, a free agent, signed a lucrative contract and became a member of the New York Football Giants. At the time of his signing, then Giants GM Ernie Accorsi said, “Our defensive football team just got a lot better today.” “Antonio Pierce is a sideline-to-sideline playmaker. We are not only pleased that we have him, but we are equally pleased that we don’t have to play against him anymore.”
In addition, Pierce’s former head coach and future Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs shared this about Antonio, “Every time we talk about a highlight film or doing a bunch of great things, he is one of the guys,” Washington coach Joe Gibbs said last season. “He will play great on special teams if he gets an opportunity. He is super smart. Our defense thinks he can play linebacker at any position. He has been outstanding for us.”
And Pierce was outstanding for the Giants. His laborious film study made him and his teammates better players.
As middle linebacker of the Giants, Pierce made many tackles and plays . Nevertheless, these two plays stand out. They will be indelible memories in my mind.
1. In December 2005, the Giants hosted the Cowboys at Giants Stadium. The winner of this game would go on to win the NFC East. In a tight game against former Giants head coach Bill Parcells’ Cowboys, Pierce scored a touchdown which was the difference in the game. Giants defensive end Justin Tuck stripped the ball from Cowboys quarterback Drew Bledsoe. Subsequently, Pierce scooped up the loose ball and waltzed untouched into the endzone. Pierce’s 12 yard fumble return put the the Giants ahead 17-0. Thankfully for the Giants and their fans, the Giants would go on to defeat the Cowboys 17-10. This victory improved the Giants record to 8-4. Eventually, the Giants would go on to win the NFC East.
2. In the 2007 NFC Championship game against the Packers- Fighting off two blockers, Pierce made a superb stop on Packers running back Vernand Morency. If Pierce did not make this play, Morency would have scored a touchdown. Instead of leading 14-6 at the half, the Packers had to settle for a Mason Crosby field goal. At intermission, the Giants trailed by four points-10-6. Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said this about Pierce’s remarkable stop, “Had he not made that play,”coach Tom Coughlin said, “who knows where that ball would have gone?”
Antonio, thank you for the memories especially Super Bowl XLII.