Thousands Cheer Giants, Super Bowl Champs, in Broadway Parade and Stadium Rally

"You cheered us all the way to Indianapolis," said Eli Manning.

Hundreds of thousands of fired-up Giants fans cheered their Super Bowl champions in a parade up Manhattan's Canyon of Heroes and in a raucous rally on their home field Tuesday as beaming players thanked them for their neverending support.

"This is an incredible finish to an amazing season," Coach Tom Coughlin told the crowd at MetLife Stadium. "It puts us right back to the Super Bowl."

Eli Manning told fans: "You cheered us all the way to Indianapolis."

Players, coaches and dignitaries rode on floats up Broadway in Manhattan as fans went wild below on the street and tossed confetti from up above, out the windows of office buildings. On one float, Manning clutched the Vince Lombardi Trophy, hoisting it over his head at times.

Mike King, 16, of Wantagh, N.Y., and seven school friends got up at dawn to join the crowds packed behind police barricades lining Broadway. He attributed the Giants' win to the stellar performance of Manning and the hold-your-breath catch by Mario Manningham that led to the game-winning drive.

"It was one small step for the Giants, and one giant leap for the fans and the nation," King said.

After the parade, the players received keys to the city at a City Hall ceremony open only to the lucky 500 people who received tickets through a lottery on Monday. The mayor handed the keys to the team members on stage, where Victor Cruz did his signature salsa before receiving his.

Running back Andre Brown reprised his now-famous song seen in a cell phone video taken on the Giants plane, singing "I got a ring" as fellow teammates joined him on stage.

Coughlin told the crowd that "it's wonderful that we've returned the Lombardi Trophy to exactly where it belongs -- right here in New York," he said.

Three large screens set up around City Hall allowed members of the public to watch the ceremony.

Coughlin spoke with President Barack Obama by phone just before the parade, he said. The president sent his regards to the players and invited the team to the White House.

"He was very gracious -- he praised our football team, he praised our mental toughness, our resilience, our leadership," Coughlin said. "But the key thing was to remember this: that all things are possible for those who believe."

The Giants returned home Monday, welcomed by fans after another thrilling win over the Patriots, just four years after they accomplished the same feat.

About 1 million people were expected to witness the parade spectacle Tuesday. The procession started at Battery Place and Washington Street  and continued up to Worth Street.

One fan from Brooklyn said the weather may be a little cold and windy, but added: "I have so much adrenaline pumping, I'm not feeling it."

The city said school attendance dipped slightly, from 91 percent on a typical Tuesday to 89 percent on the day of the parade. On the day of the Giants parade in 2008 it was 87 percent, officials said.

Gov. Chris Christie attended the MetLife Stadium rally, and Naughty By Nature performed.

Sunday night's win was the Giants' fourth Super Bowl title.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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