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09/13/2023 11:00:00 AM


Alan Bergman

Gary Myers recently spent time with The Blog discussing his new book, “Once a Giant: A Story of Victory, Tragedy, and Life After Football” (304 pages), published on September 12th. Gary and his wife, Allison, have been Bet Torah members for nearly 35 years.

Q. What was the origin of “Once a Giant: A Story of Victory, Tragedy, and Life After Football,” and what inspired you to tell this particular story?

A. This is my sixth book, but my first about a New York team. This was the most iconic of the Giants’ four Super Bowl championship teams, filled with some of the greatest names in NFL history. I’ve always been intrigued by life after football, what happens to these guys who are now mostly in their 50s and 60s, and what impact playing football has had on them. The 1986 team is the exact demographic that I wanted to write about. Giants fans who thought they really knew this team will be surprised by how much they didn’t know after reading this book … some of it is heartbreaking and some of it heartwarming.

Q. What do you want this book to accomplish? 

A. It’s written not only to explore life beyond playing for this championship team but also the fear now of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and whether the NFL does enough for these players after chewing them up and spitting them out. The football locker room is, more than any other sport, a real fraternity, and this book describes how these players all came together and what has happened to them since. In my book, I detail some of the issues they have faced.

Q. Were there any particular players or coaches who were most accessible and cooperative in your research for this book?

A. Almost everyone was very cooperative. Bill Parcells was very helpful to me. I’ve had a great relationship with Phil Simms since 1979, and he was great. Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, and Carl Banks really opened up and were very forthcoming. 

Q. Why have your books focused exclusively on football? Why not write about other sports, too?

A. I suppose you can call me a football specialist, especially after covering that sport for the New York Daily News for more than 30 years. I’ve stuck to what I know best. Football, by far, is the most popular sport in this country. Baseball can more easily be romanticized, but football is more appealing to the masses.

Q. Any predictions for the 2023-24 NFL season?

A. Locally, I’ll say that if the Jets don’t make it to the Super Bowl, then this season will be considered a total failure. I do think the Jets have an excellent chance to do it if Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy. The Giants have a good chance to make the playoffs, too.

Sat, September 30 2023 15 Tishrei 5784