John Gleason may not live on the East Coast anymore, but that hasn’t dulled his enthusiasm for his hometown New York Giants. The Redondo Beach resident had to relocate for work but brought his passion with him, doing everything from mixing up blue tinted rum cocktails to flying across the country with his signature, custom-made denim vests in tow.
The NFL launched the Fan of the Year contest presented by Captain Morgan to celebrate extraordinary fans who inspire others through their love of football and bring an “original spice” to what it means to be a fan. In collaboration with the 32 teams, the NFL collected nearly 35,000 submissions from fans vying for the chance to represent their team as a nominee. The contest will identify one winner among the final 32 nominees to be named the ultimate NFL Fan of the Year at NFL Honors in February 2022.
Here’s what makes John one of the candidates for NFL Fan of the Year sponsored by Captain Morgan.
How would you describe your own original spice and how you bring it to your team?
JG: I grew up in the prime era of sportswear and have always loved wearing the 90’s throwback Giants gear. About 10 years ago, I made a denim vest in the style of a NY Giants jersey with “Big Blue” and the number 56 on the back. Having been fortunate enough to have first row season tickets in the family throughout my life and being a pretty animated guy, I wound up on the stadium jumbotron and TV broadcasts fairly regularly during home games.
Why do you love being a fan of the New York Giants?
John Gleason: Being a Giants fan is my life’s greatest passion. It’s ingrained in my family, and I’ve made lifelong friendships built on mutual fandom. While traveling for work or pleasure, I always seem to find that “NYG” logo in a crowd and know that I have a connection with that stranger. Being raised a Giants fan is truly the best thing that has ever happened to me.
What is the original spice of Giants fans?
JG: The passion. The great teams were never based on finesse or glamour. It’s smashmouth football played the way it ought to be played in some of the harshest conditions in the NFL. The fans will let you know when you’re playing poorly, but they’ll be the first to defend you against outsiders. When you win for the Giants, you’re immortalized with a laundry list of greats. It takes a special type of person to show up to a swamp on a snowy Sunday in January when you’re out of the playoff hunt. But, we’ve got a lot of them.
How did you become a Giants fan?
JG: By birth! My parents have been season ticket holders for 30 years and most of my family on both sides have had tickets at one point or another. It wasn’t really a choice if you were going to be a Giants fan, it was just a matter of how passionate you would be.
How do you spice up game day?
JG: When I’m at home in CA, I have a few close friends that I’ll watch with at a local bar. Kick-off is at 10 here, so the day always starts with my signature NY Tai—which is a Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum Mai Tai with blue Curaçao— with breakfast. From there, the wardrobe depends if we’re coming off a win or not. After wins, I have to keep the socks, jersey, vest and hat the same. After a loss, I have to switch it up.
For the 3 to 4 home games I get to, I typically red-eye Friday night and fly back Sunday post-game. Those Sundays have to start with a New Jersey bagel sandwich. But the rest generally remains the same.