HARRISBURG -- It sure seemed like an inordinate number of Giants fans were filing past today, as Eagles defensive end Trent Cole signed T-shirts for charity and promoted his hunting enterprises in the Lancaster Archery booth at the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show, the largest such event in North America.
Considering their team had won the Super Bowl less than 48 hours earlier, and the NFC East rival Eagles didn't make the playoffs, the blue-clad New York followers weren't too obnoxious. Then again, they were addressing a 270-pound, two-time Pro Bowl pass rusher separated from them only by a folding table, not some dumpy fellow fan in midnight green.
"They didn't stop. They finished strong, and that's what it's all about," Cole said, when asked his thoughts on the Giants winning Super Bowl XLVII. "We finished strong as well, but it didn't work out (to make the playoffs)."
Cole acknowledged he was pulling for the Patriots on Sunday, that a New England victory wouldn't have stung quite as much as seeing the Lombardi Trophy go to a team from the division, a team the Eagles beat at MetLife Stadium back on Nov. 21, six days before the Birds were crushed at the Linc by the Pats.
"We had a bad year. We just couldn't pull it off at the last minute," Cole said. "We were right there, inches away from being great, being a dominant team. I think some teams are going to be worried about playing us" in 2012.
Cole, an Eagle since 2005, said he is glad to see Eagles coach Andy Reid back for a 14th season, glad to see defensive coordinator Juan Castillo get a second chance, glad defensive line coach Jim Washburn and the "Wide 9" didn't get swept away in a tidal wave of disappointment over missing the playoffs.
"I think it's a great choice," he said, when asked about Castillo. "Numbers don't lie, and we put up some great numbers.
"If you can feed into (Washburn's) teachings, you'll do well. You've got to believe in what he teaches. Come off hard, fast. When you come off your stance, be an eruption."
Almost as many people filing past the booth wanted to discuss hunting as were interested in football. Cole, who grew up as a hunter in rural Xenia, Ohio, has a TV show available on DIRECTV, in which, he says, "ordinary, everyday working people" go hunting, mostly for whitetail deer. He is selling DVDs at the show, but also is selling for charity autographed T-shirts emblazoned with his "Blitz TV" logo, at $10 a pop. Cole is at the booth through tomorrow afternoon.
Hunting, Cole said, is "a calm place where all the BS stops."
He said he pursues all types of hunting but prefers bowhunting because it's more challenging than pulling the trigger of a gun.
"You've got an intricate machine in your hand, with a lot of bells and whistles," he said. "When that moment of truth comes and that game comes up on you, everything's got to be right. You've got to really focus. ... It's just like football, it's all repetition."