INDIANAPOLIS — Coach Tom Coughlin is known for his superstitions, but he’s not alone on that in the Giants’ facility.
In keeping a tradition alive, Rich Salgado — who sells insurance to more than 300 NFL players and is a lifelong Giants fan — personally arranged for the team to have 12 pizzas delivered from Umberto’s in New Hyde Park, N.Y., on Friday to the team’s practice field at the University of Indianapolis.
Salgado lives on Long Island and began bringing pizza from his favorite shop to Michael Strahan on Fridays back in 2007. Guys noticed, and the orders grew. This year, Salgado, a former University of Maryland lineman himself, brought about a half-dozen pies every week, one for DE Justin Tuck, the rest for offensive linemen Chris Snee and David Diehl to hand out to teammates.
This week, with the team away, things were slightly more complicated.
Salgado arranged for a dozen pizzas to make the trip to Indy, and they left Umberto’s on Long Island at 9:30 a.m. Friday. A buddy of Salgado’s is a sheriff, so the goods received a “police escort” to LaGuardia Airport in Queens and were ushered through security in a special heated box. TSA agents then loaded the pizza on to a Delta flight bound for Indy, with another set of TSA agents waiting there to take the pies off the plane and hand them off to Salgado, who reached the airport at 12:30 p.m. to pick them up.
From there, Salgado drove the pizza from the airport to the team’s practice site, kind of like he would go on a normal Friday from New Hyde Park to East Rutherford, N.J., and the players received their grub at around 3 p.m., after practice.
Over the last two weeks, the Giants have adhered as strictly as possible to the schedule they used in Arizona for Super Bowl XLII. And the procurement of that pizza just goes to show you there aren’t many lengths Big Blue won’t go to during Super Bowl week.
— Albert Breer