© Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Someone had to do it.
Herm Edwards, San Francisco Giants fan, former NFL coach, current head coach of Arizona State’s football team and author of one of the most iconic quotes in coaching lore, addressed the Giants’ clubhouse in a meeting before Thursday’s spring training workout.
The Giants are rolling out a speaker series that will be spliced throughout camp, different voices to appeal to and inspire different groups. By all accounts Edwards’ talk went well, though Hunter Pence was the one to address the elephant (Sun Devil?) in the room.
“Why do you play the game?” Pence asked in a room that burst into laughter. Of course, you play to win the game.
“He’s got a lot of energy. Really good public speaker,” Alex Dickerson told KNBR at Scottsdale Stadium. “He gave us a story on how one of his teams was struggling early on and they ended up having a good year.”
That year was 2002, in which the legendary rant — when Edwards would not accept any notion of his team giving up after falling to 2-5 — helped catapult the New York Jets to the postseason, rolling off seven wins in their final nine games. They played to win games successfully.
“He got everybody fired up,” catcher Rob Brantly said of Edwards, who played college ball at Cal and whose first coaching job came at San Jose State. “With athletes across the board, that competitiveness never leaves.”
The consensus was that Edwards was inspiring and loud; “about how you see him on TV,” one Giant said.
Gabe Kapler said he didn’t want to overdo it with guest speakers, but appreciated someone new for the team to hear.
“He shared with players that he recognizes that they’re all independent contractors,” the manager said, “but then once we’re in that room together, we’re a team and we’re fighting.
“I think it was a really powerful message at a really good time in camp.”