The controversy surrounding veteran kicker Graham Gano, rookie edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux and jersey No. 5 on the New York Giants may be a little overblown. The rumor is that Thibodeaux wants it, but Gano is charging him $250,000 for it.
On Thursday, Gano tweeted a screenshot from a FaceTime call with Thibodeaux and used the Twitter caption to poke fun at the Internet controversy.
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“‘Hey, let’s make serious faces since folks think we don’t like each other.’ 😂. Good chatting with my guy @kayvont Just a couple 5’s chatting on 5/5,” Gano wrote on Twitter.
Thibodeaux retweeted Gano’s tweet to his 60.5 thousand followers.
We know that Thibodeaux wore the No. 5 in college at Oregon and wants to continue that tradition into the professional ranks with the Giants, but Gano seems pretty attached to the number (he’s wearing a hat with the No. 5 on it in the screenshot he posted). At the very least, it looks like the teammates are negotiating in good faith. That’s a good thing, considering former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress once ripped off longtime punter Jeff Feagles for the No. 17.
Giants fans have been casually debating this issue for a few days now. Some people think that Thibodeaux should have to earn the jersey number he wants, while others think Gano should give it up because he’s just a kicker.
But this issues has captivated more than just the fans. Even one of Gano and Thibodeaux’s Giants teammates spoke up on the topic.
“Respectfully, if you are a 12 year vet, former pro bowler, and a major record holder for the last 3 teams you’ve played for, you can wear whatever number you want,” Giants wide receiver Alex Bachman tweeted. “Time y’all put more respect on that mans name.”
This controversy will likely end with Thibodeaux in the No. 5 and Gano’s wallet a little bit fatter, but let’s have some fun and make the case for both sides.
The Case For Gano to Keep No. 5
Bachman already made a great argument for us, but let’s expound upon his case. Gano has been extremely consistent over the past two seasons with the Giants. He’s converted 92.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 95.0 percent of his extra-point attempts since joining the team. At one point last year, he had a streak of 37 consecutive made field goals (the all-time NFL record is 44, held by Adam Vinatieri).
Gano was also the team’s leading scorer last season with 104 points. The next closest point producer was Saquon Barkley, who had 24 points. No one else on the team produced more than 18 points for the Giants in 2021. That’s a massive disparity between Gano and everyone else.
Lastly, do you really want to mess with a good kicker’s head? The mental aspect of kicking is so important, and sometimes superstitions turn into very real things. Thibodeaux will probably be a beast of a pass rusher in any number, while Gano’s success could be somewhat tied to wearing the number he deems lucky.
The Case For Thibodeaux to Get No. 5
Let’s be honest. The Giants are hoping Thibodeaux will be with the team a lot longer than Gano, who is already 35 years old and may only have a few seasons left in the NFL. If Thibodeaux picks a different number as a rookie, then switches to No. 5 whenever Gano moves on, what happens to all the fans who bought his original jersey?
Thibodeaux is also very brand conscious. For an athlete, your jersey number is a big part of your brand identification (look no further than TB12). After becoming a star at Oregon in the No. 5, it would help Thibodeaux’s brand recognition to wear the same number with the Giants.
Finally, who puts more fans in the stands: the kicker or the rookie pass rusher who just went fifth overall in the NFL Draft? The Giants know which player is more marketable, and it would be wise of them to make sure he wears the same number throughout his career.