A few weeks ago, Joe Ruback received a direct message on Instagram from a fellow New York Giants fan named Dan who had a collection of players’ autographs that were tattooed on his body. Turns out that conversation would end up being a signature moment for Ruback.
It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for Ruback, better known as ‘License Plate Guy’ and truthfully, he didn’t think much about the interaction after it ended. It was one fan enthusiastically showing his passion for Ruback, perhaps the biggest Giants fan of them all. But before the Monday night home game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Dan found Ruback at his tailgate outside MetLife Stadium and asked him to sign his calf muscle. The Giants superfan remembers thinking that it was a bit of an odd request and sort of joked it off at first then realized this request was very serious.
So Ruback knelt down and began to sign the calf muscle with a Sharpie. As he did so, the fan known as Dan told him that it would be the template for his next tattoo. Ruback was stunned and truthfully didn’t quite believe it.
“Do you really want to be in your grave someday with my signature on your leg?” Ruback said in an interview with Metro. “I was in disbelief.”
He finished the autograph and Dan went away a few minutes later but as he did, Ruback remembers him on his cell phone with his tattoo artist, confirming his date for his fresh ink the very next day. At this point, Ruback began to think that this thing might be real, that his signature might end up on someone’s body next to Giants legends such as Justin Tuck.
That next day, Ruback got another message, this time with a photo of Dan’s new tattoo. It was indeed the autograph of Ruback, framed fittingly by a license plate.
— LPG – NYG (@LicensePlateGuy) November 15, 2016
“I’m glad he didn’t ask me to do the small of his back,” Ruback, always ready with a one-liner, said with a smirk.
It was a first for the most recognizable of all Giants fans.
‘License Plate Guy’ is loved by the team’s fanbase, a life-long fan who claims his own tattoo of the team on his body. He’s a constant fixture at both home and away games and his signature blonde hair and steely eyes are frequently seen on the massive screens inside MetLife Stadium. He’s always cheering his beloved ‘Big Blue’ on.
Spend a few moments at a tailgate with him and fans are coming up to him to ask for photographs or simply shake his hand.
“I won’t keep you too long,” one fan says before Ruback’s interview for this story. “Just wanted to say hi and good luck today.”
Ruback is a celebrity at games, a diehard fan who gets a certain joy trolling opponents, especially the Giants’ NFC East rivals. There’s a lightheartedness about it all from him, even as he takes his Giants very seriously.
But as much as he’s loved by Giants fans – and his over 11,000 fans on Twitter show that he’s tapped into something truly special with the fans – being asked to sign what would become someone’s tattoo is still somewhat fresh and new to him. He admits to being “moved, genuinely moved” by the moment.
His wife Sarah Ruback, standing next to him at this tailgate, found some humor and no creepiness in the unusual request from her husband last week.
“I guess Joe made a permanent impression on him,” Sarah said.