- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPNNewYork.com
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As residents in New York and New Jersey struggle to recover after Hurricane Sandy plowed through the region, the Giants on Wednesday resumed their preparation for Sunday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The hope is that a victory might provide some people a brief respite while dealing with the destruction.
"Whether they can come to the game or find a TV, for a few hours they can have a little break and cheer for their home team," quarterback Eli Manning said. "And hopefully we can give them a little joy and after the game they can go back to building their lives back."
Manning knows that sports might be able to create at least a temporary distraction from terrible circumstances. He grew up in New Orleans and the Manning family saw firsthand the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought in 2005.
Manning visited with those victims after the storm and will never forget some of the stories he heard.
"Those kind of images get stuck in your head when you see it live," Manning said of the scene in New Orleans. "Talking to people who couldn't get in touch with their family or the water is coming into the house and they are holding onto their wife and kids and all of the sudden the water sweeps them away and they don't know where they are and can't get in touch ... it is those types of stories that let you know how fortunate you are."
The Giants rushed to fly home Sunday after their win in Dallas, before Hurricane Sandy hit. Manning's apartment in Hoboken, N.J., did not suffer serious damage, though the lobby of the building was flooded.
"Saw water coming over the Hudson River and into the streets and you see very quickly cars completely covered with water," Manning said. "Obviously it is a little ... it can be scary, the wind was blowing and the windows were shaking and you hope everything holds up and the building holds up and the windows don't crack."
Bennett said he helped neighbors clean up the area Tuesday morning.
"We were fortunate enough to make it through the night," Bennett said of living in an apartment near the Hudson River. "When I woke up in the morning I did what I could to help out. Branches, cars ... there are cars floating in the parking garage."
Coach Tom Coughlin emphasized to his players and staff to make sure their families were safe. Manning ended up moving his family to a hotel Tuesday.
"Once I got to the hotel, (I) finally got power and saw some images and pictures and news about some of the tragic events and the deaths and fires and loss of homes," Manning said. "Whether New York and New Jersey, all over, some terrible stories.
"You send out prayers to those families and those people that are still going through terrible situations right now. I feel fortunate that we can come in and go to work, be with our friends and teammates here and my family is safe. We are fortunate that we are here today."
Eli Manning hopes the New York Giants can lift the spirits of the millions affected by Hurricane Sandy in the New York and New Jersey area with their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.