METAIRIE, La. — It’s not that Steve Spagnuolo is unimpressed with MetLife Stadium.
It’s just not Giants Stadium, that old, venerable, tough-looking venue of the past.
“I had the pleasure and really was blessed to spend two years at old Giants Stadium,” Spagnuolo said. “There was a lot of memories there. You talk about the mystique of that stadium and all the great history in Giants football there. Going to the new stadium is a little bit different.”
Spagnuolo worked with the Giants from 2007-08, helping the team to a Super Bowl in Feb. 2008. He coached in the old Giants Stadium in its penultimate season and relishes the difference in where he’s at now compared to then, though he’s happy to puff his chest out and admit that he worked in the decrepit concrete and steel structure that is now a parking lot.
“I remember working for the Giants and working with the players – it wasn’t all that,” Spagnuolo said. “Here it’s plush. It’s nice. It wasn’t all that plush. It was Giants Stadium. Everything was a little bit older. Every once in awhile, we would complain about it."
In fact, he called it a badge of honor having worked there.
“Having been in Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia and getting a new one, I knew that when Giants Stadium was eventually not there, all the guys that played in Giants Stadium would wear that like a badge of honor,” Spagnuolo said. “ ‘Yeah, I played for the Giants, worked for the Giants when it was Giants Stadium.’ And we do.”
When the Saints (5-7) play at New York (7-5) on Sunday at 3:25 p.m, Spagnuolo will return to face some of his old buddies, even if the game isn’t happening in the old stadium.
On Wednesday, some of those friends were complimentary of Spagnuolo.
“He’s a heck of a young man,” Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. He’s got great energy. He is good person. He and Maria make a great team and we were really happy to have him at that time.
After having worked with him for those two seasons, both Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning said they recognize what he has done to the Saints’ defense.
When asked if he saw Spagnuolo’s “signature” on the Saints’ defense, Coughlin replied, “Yes. More and more.”
Said Manning, “When he does pressure, he has some unique pressures. He does a good job of showing you different looks. We have to be ready for a lot of different looks and some pressure things.”