In a season that looked lost, the New York Giants have found a cult hero.
Tommy DeVito, an undrafted rookie who most fans had never heard of one month ago, has become the starting quarterback for the team and proceeded to write his own Cinderella story by making the most of his opportunity with his play and the hand gesture he makes after the Giants score a touchdown.
DeVito is a New Jersey native, a real Jersey guy playing for a Jersey team, so his gesture only adds to the love fans have for him.
What is the hand gesture he makes?
DeVito pinches his fingers together and rubs them after his team scores. He said it's an homage to the way old Italians gesture when they talk.
“I kind of thought it was just the old Italians. When they talk, they start doing this,” he told reporters while making the hand motion after the Giants beat the Washington Commanders Nov. 19. “It’s just a little credit to them.”
Heck, even his parents have gotten in on the act.
Hand gestures aside, DeVito, 25, has become a bright light in a season of darkness for the Giants. He was forced to step in as starting quarterback after injuries knocked out starter Daniel Jones and backup Tyrod Taylor. So, let’s learn more about him.
Who, exactly, is Tommy DeVito?
DeVito is the story of a hometown boy making good because he is about as close to a hometown hero as it gets. In fact, he still lives at home with his parents. Born in Livingston, New Jersey, DeVito grew up in Cedar Grove, about 10 miles from MetLife Stadium, where the Giants play. He attended high school at Don Bosco Prep, roughly 18 miles from the stadium.
DeVito went to Syracuse University, where he played for four years before transferring to the University of Illinois for the 2022 season. He led the Fighting Illini to an 8-5 record while throwing 15 touchdowns and only four interceptions. He also ran for six touchdowns.
How did he wind up on the Giants?
DeVito was not a top prospect when the NFL draft came around this past spring. He was signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent and wound up on the team’s practice squad in August, shortly before the season kicked off.
In late October, he was elevated to the active roster.
When did DeVito make his NFL debut?
DeVito saw his first action in an NFL game when he came in during the Giants’ 13-10 loss to the New York Jets on Oct. 29. It was an inauspicious debut — DeVito went 2-for-7 passing for -1 yard in a rainy game that went to overtime, but he did run for his team’s lone touchdown.
DeVito returned to the field the next week, when he entered in relief of an injured Jones during the Giants' 30-6 loss at the Las Vegas Raiders. However, he did throw his first NFL touchdown in that game.
How’s it gone since then?
DeVito started his first NFL game Week 10 at the Dallas Cowboys, which blew out the Giants, 49-17. DeVito only threw for 86 yards, but did toss a pair of touchdowns.
The last two weeks have been better and helped endear DeVito to Giants fans. He threw three touchdowns Nov. 19 as the Giants downed the Washington Commanders, 31-19, on the road, and he then followed it up Nov. 26 by tossing another score as the Giants topped the New England Patriots, 10-7, during his first home start under center. Those mark the first back-to-back wins this season for the Giants, which improved to 4-8.
“I think he’s played two good games in a row, so he’s made good decisions with what we asked him to do,” Giants head coach Brian Daboll said.
DeVito will have to take a breather before he looks to keep the winning streak going. The Giants, which are on a bye next week, will return to action Dec. 11 when they host the Green Bay Packers.