Earlier this week our own Leslie Monteiro called out any Jets fans who were rooting for the Patriots. Guest-writer Reuven Lowenthal takes a look at both sides of the coin…
Many people feel that the build-up to Super Bowl XLVI between the New York Giants and New England Patriots is the most exciting of all time. The main reason for this great anticipation is that it’s a rematch of the greatest upset of all time, Super Bowl XLII, in which the Giants beat the undefeated Patriots 17-14.
Unfortunately, I am a die hard Jets fan who is not nearly as excited about this Super Bowl as every other football fan in the world. In fact, I, like the rest of Jets Nation, am dreading this game because I will have to witness one of these two teams holding the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night.
In 2008, when the Giants and Patriots met in the Super Bowl, I thought it was the worst possible scenario that could happen for Jets fans. Well, I stand corrected. How about those two teams meeting again in a Championship game four years later, following a season in which our coach guaranteed a Super Bowl win for ourselves (for the second straight year) and then finishing the season at a mediocre 8-8! Of course, three of those eight losses coming at the hands of the Patriots and Giants. So I’ll try one more time: THIS is the worst possible scenario that could happen for Jets fans. That statement should hold true at least until the football gods come up with even more clever ways to torture us in years to come.
As much as I hate both teams, I wouldn’t miss this game for the world so I decided to dissect my hatred toward both teams in order to figure out who I should root against.
It’s kind of obvious why Jets fans hate the Patriots as much as we do. When your team gets dominated by the same franchise for a decade straight, you start to grow a disliking for that team. So imagine how you feel about a division team that’s been dominating your team for a decade. Since 2003, the Patriots have beaten the Jets 15 times in 20 games and have won the AFC East eight times. Meanwhile, the Jets haven’t won it once. That pretty much sums it up right there. Basically every season there is that feeling that it’ll finally be the year that the Jets take over the AFC East… but the Patriots just won’t allow their dominance of the division to end. Jets fans are sick and tired of finishing in second place in the division.
Our hatred toward the Patriots doesn’t end there. Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the Jets from 1997-99, under Coach Bill Parcells. Following the 1999 season, Parcells stepped down and arranged with team management to have Belichick succeed him. The day after his hiring was publicized, Belichick was to be introduced to the media as the new head coach of the Jets. He got up to the podium and shockingly announced his resignation from the team. Before taking the podium, he scribbled a resignation note on a napkin that read in its entirety, “I resign as HC of the NYJ.” He then delivered a half-hour speech explaining his resignation.
The rest is history.
He decided to take over the coaching job of a division rival and dominate his former team for years to come. You can’t make this stuff up.
In 2010, Tom Brady was asked if he’d been watching Hard Knocks, which featured the Jets training camp that year and he answered, “Honestly, I haven’t turned it on. I hate the Jets, so I refuse to support that show. I’m sure it’s great TV. I’m glad people are liking it. But that’s just something that I have no interest in watching. I’d love to say a lot of mean things, but I’d rather not do that, either.” That quote is coming from someone who held a 13-3 career record against the Jets at that time.
Let’s just say the feeling’s mutual, Tom.
But why do I hate the Giants? The Jets and Giants play every four years, so in theory there shouldn’t be that much beef between the teams and its fans. It’s not like the rivalry between the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders, who are also in the same division. Fans of those three teams automatically hate the other two teams and their fans, no questions asked. It is not because of games that the two teams have played against each other. Even though the Giants have beaten the Jets the last few recent times the two have played, it doesn’t really play a factor into my disliking for them.
It’s also not because of the players on their roster. They have a few very unlikable players on their team (i.e. Brandon Jacobs) but every team has those kinds of players. I know the Jets do. Even I hate Santonio Holmes. I don’t mind Coach Tom Coughlin that much. I think his players don’t necessarily like him, but as a fan I don’t have a problem with the guy.
Eli Manning is almost too likable. Uch. I wish I could hate on the guy, but I just can’t. Aside from Kevin Durant and Drew Brees, I’ve never seen a player take less credit for his performances and team’s success. He was asked in a recent interview if he felt that he had more control over this year’s team than the 2007 Super Bowl team. We all know that the answer to this question is YES. In 2007, he was brutal until week 16 and the playoff run was led by Michael Strahan and the defense. This year, Eli has almost singlehandedly led this team to the Super Bowl. The only reason they were 7-7 before making this run was because of hm. Now, no quarterback is going to say that he has full control over his team because no one wants to sound arrogant. Most quarterbacks would probably say something like, “Yea. I definitely feel like I have more control over the team than 2007, because I was still young and learning the game at the time and now I’ve really learned the game and have been on this team for another four years.” But Eli didn’t even take that much credit. He was simply confused by the question and just explained that no one has any sort of control over the team. It’s obviously not true but he was so sincere about it, that I almost believed him. In his press conferences, he sounds so nervous and unconfident in himself. He’s not interested in the spotlight and he doesn’t pose in magazines (Yes, that’s a knock on Brady and Mark Sanchez). Enough about Eli. I’m making myself nauseous just talking about a Giant player in this manner.
So what is it about the Giants that I can’t stand? The answer is their fans. A Jets fan living out of state doesn’t have this issue, but when you’re a Jets fan living in New York, Giants fans could really get under your skin. They can have an extremely obnoxious attitude, especially toward Jets fans. Maybe they act this way only toward Jets fans. The mere fact that many Jets fans are even thinking of rooting for the Patriots in this game shows how annoying Giants fans can be.
Following the Giants in the NFC Championship game, I decided to be a good sport and send some of my Giants fan friends a congratulation text. Two responses I got were, “It’s a Giants town haha” and “Not to rub it in but you guys deserve it.” The Giants just made the Super Bowl and all these fans care about is that they made it AND that the Jets didn’t! What!?!?! How can I root for a team that has fans that are going to be in my face about it for years to come?
When the Jets made the AFC Championship the last two years, I did not think about the Giants once. I couldn’t care less what the Giants were doing (and btw, they were COLLAPSING in HISTORIC fashion). I was worrying about one thing and one thing only: my team. Had the Giants been in the playoffs those two years, I would not have been worried about the Jets making it further than the Giants. I don’t know if I could say the same about Giants fans.
In 2008, I rooted for the Patriots. My reasoning was that the Patriots had just won three Super Bowls, so I felt that I’d rather the Pats win a fourth over the Giants winning their first one since 1990. I’m not sure if that logic makes that much sense but I guess misery likes company and I wanted the Giants fans to be just as miserable as I was. Of course, I also didn’t want to be have to hear about it from all their fans. And if it meant Brady and the Patriots winning a fourth, then so be it. I know it would have meant that the Patriots would have been the first 19-0 team ever, but at least I wouldn’t have had to hear about the “greatest” Super Bowl game of all time, the “greatest” Super Bowl catch of all time, or the “greatest” Super Bowl run of all time constantly for the next four years.
The circumstances in this year’s Super Bowl are different though. Although, Brady and Belichick have won three Superbowls together, it’s been long enough that they are desperate for another one (coughSpygatecough). Despite great success and countless AFC East titles, they have not been able to close the deal in recent years and you know it’s starting to really frustrate them. Reporters are constantly asking the Patriots about the game four years ago and they all have similar answers, “That was four years ago. That has nothing to do with the game coming up.” Yeah right! We all know that game from four years ago is still engraved in any Patriots player that played in that game, especially Brady and Belichick. They were one game from the being considered the greatest team of all time and it all went to waste, because the Giants came into Glendale, Arizona and wouldn’t allow it to happen. It has been destroying them inside and a win on Sunday would give them the closure they’ve been needing for four years.
A loss would destroy them. Even when the Giants and Patriots played early in the season, the game did not feel like a normal game. There are clearly feelings that have carried over from that game and I don’t care what Brady says to reporters. Although Jets fans would have to deal with the repercussions of another Giants championship, the irony is that losing to the Giants would make it that much more painful to the Patriots organization than any other NFC team. I would like nothing more than to see the misery on Brady and Belichick’s faces following another Super Bowl loss to the same team that unperfected them four years earlier.
But you can guarantee that I won’t be sending out any congratulation texts this time around.
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