As a New York Jets fan, this couldn’t be any worse. Division “rival” vs. City rival in the Super Bowl. The cheating Patriots against the stadium landlord Giants. Time to hide the shoelaces.
Let me make myself clear before I go any farther: I hate both of these teams. They are the only two teams that I hope lose every single week of the season. When they played each other, I prayed for a 0-0 tie in which both quarterbacks got hurt with season ending injuries. I know that sounds awful, but find me one fan who doesn’t pray for injuries to their opponents and I’ll lighten up (or try at least).
Obviously, this season has been very difficult because of the Patriots, who became the first team to ever go 16*-0. The only thing that comforts me is that they cheated to get there. Sure, they could have beaten the Jets without video taping them, but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t do it. $750,000 and a draft pick later and all of a sudden, the cheating was okay. They paid the penalty and went on to complete their perfect regular season. Even Bill Belichick won coach of the year for getting away with cheating.
Patriots fans blame Eric Mangini for outing their beloved cheating coach by saying that Mangini knew the video taping occurred while he was a Patriots coach and made it public after they played his current team. Then came the defense that the Patriots had never done this before and that they tried it once, got caught, and never did it again. But if it was the first time, how did Mangini know about the practice? It seems that New Englanders have decided that it was a first time offense, while still booing and mocking Mangini to no end. Classic Patriots fans.
The “rivalry” that exists between the Jets and the Patriots is an interesting one because it’s completely media-created. The players don’t hate each other and they don’t battle any more than they would against other teams. The coaches have plenty of cross-over from Bill Parcells to Belichik to Mangini (and many others) and plenty of players have worn the uniforms of each team. Nevertheless, the Patriots have owned the AFC East for the last decade. They have three Super Bowl victories since 2002. They have one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the game and a coach who has plenty of regular season and post-season wins under his belt (though who knows how many were won with illegal help? and honestly, nobody but Belichick knows). To put this in words that New Englanders might understand: This is NOT Red Socks vs. Yankees. This is a fake rivalry if you need to call it a rivalry at all.
Jets vs. Giants is completely different. This is a rivalry. The teams do not play in the same division or the same conference; but they do play in the same building, Giants Stadium, a name that further fuels the fire between both teams. The Jets will forever be regarded as the little brother to the Giants because of this stadium issue. Gang Green tried to build a brand new multi-billion dollar stadium on the west side of Manhattan that would have been the centerpiece of New York’s 2012 Olympic bid. So what happened? The project was rejected by two New York legislators and they had to crawl back to New Jersey to build a new stadium with the Giants.
I accepted the inevitable fact that the Patriots were going to the Super Bowl. They were clearly the best team in the NFL this season and got to play a severely banged up San Diego Chargers team that inexplicably beat the Indianapolis Colts last week in the RCA Dome. The Colts were the last true hope for Jets fans to beat the Patriots, but Peyton Manning turned into the former Eli Manning and could not deliver in a big spot.
The Giants in the Super Bowl is another story. I was able to kick this team down and find negatives in every single win they had. Eight game road winning streak? Sure, against substandard opponents and barely winning those games. But you know what? They won them. As I continued to defend my negative feelings about the Giants, Eli Manning became the quarterback the Giants always thought they were getting when they sent the #7 pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, Philip Rivers, a third round pick in that draft, which turned out to be Nate Kaeding, a first round pick in the 2005 draft that the Chargers used to draft Shawne Merriman and a fifth round pick in that same draft, which the Chargers later traded. In the minds of Giants fans, what is the most important stat of that trade?
Super Bowl Appearances:
Eli Manning: 1
Philip Rivers, Shawne Merriman, Nate Kaeding: 0
Eli Manning managed yesterday’s game at Lambeau perfectly. It was the third coldest game in NFL history against a team that routinely plays (not to mention LIVES) in weather like yesterday’s. The Packers were the cream of the NFC with the Dallas Cowboys, led by a quarterback who is beloved in the sports media. Eli Manning always played second fiddle to his older brother Peyton, who will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the NFL. But now, they have the same number of Super Bowl appearances and it took Eli less time to get there.
I could write plenty more about this, but I almost threw up in my mouth just thinking about the fact that Eli Manning has led the Giants to the Super Bowl. I never thought I would ever have to write those words and now they are making me sick. And to make matters even worse, the Giants are playing the cheating Patriots, who are looking to become the first team to ever go a full 19-0 in a single year.
Time to hide the shoelaces.