As New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones left the field late in the fourth quarter on Sunday afternoon, an unfamiliar ring could be heard throughout the stands.
“Dan-iel Jones! Dan-iel Jones! Dan-iel Jones!”
In between those syllables, another phrase could be heard sung out.
“MVP! MVP! MVP!”
After nearly four full years, the MetLife Stadium crowd had finally embraced Jones. They showered him with praise that grew louder and louder and louder.
“I thought he earned it,” head coach Brian Daboll said of giving Jones a curtain call.
Jones totaled nearly 270 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-10 drubbing of the Indianapolis Colts. The performance sent the Giants to the playoffs for the first time since 2016, and it did so emphatically.
The former first-round pick left nothing to chance on Sunday. He gave it everything he had, sacrificed his body, and went above and beyond to ensure his teammates headed home with that sweet taste of victory.
“He’s a heck of a player, heck of a quarterback. I think it really showed, not just today, but the whole season and I’m just happy for him,” running back Saquon Barkley said. “Hearing his name getting chanted — it’s a beautiful thing and you can finally see he’s starting to get the respect that he earns.
“I know everyone wanted to be a big critic of him and say this and say that, but he gave us the opportunity to play playoff football and he locked it in today. When we needed him most he came up and made big plays.”
Barkley was the first player to greet Jones as he came off the field on Sunday. And with the defeating chants behind them, Barkley had a simple message for his quarterback: “I love you.”
“I told him, ‘I love you.’ I think that was a cool moment. Hearing his name be chanted,” Barkley added. “I know it’s been a tough couple years here and since I’ve been drafted or before I got drafted or since he’s been drafted, but it’s just cool to see he’s finally getting the respect that he earns because that guy, he works his tail off.
“He’s the toughest quarterback in the league. He’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win football games. He comes to work every single day with that mentality and I’m just happy for him.”
The admiration didn’t just come from Jones’ friends and offensive teammates, but from the coaching staff and defensive players as well.
“I want to give Daniel Jones credit. He played better ball than — he has played a lot of (great) games and he is our leader. I’ve said that a thousand times,” rookie linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux said unprompted.
The performance came as no surprise to Daboll, however. He’s seen it all year out of Jones and expected nothing less in the biggest of moments.
“He played well. Very efficient in the passing game. Used his legs well. He’s done that all year, though. I’ve seen that all year from him,” Daboll said. “He’s been playing good games for a while, since we’ve been here. So, he’s making the right decisions, throwing it where he needs to throw it, taking off with his legs, playing good situational football.”
Prior to Sunday’s game against the Colts, reports surfaced that the Giants intend to offer Jones a multiyear contract. If there were any lingering doubts about that, Jones quelled them in Week 17. He’s earned the respect and he’s earned the contract.