Monday, February 04, 2008

Why I'm Glad The Giants Won

At the risk of excommunication, I'll admit I was rooting for the Patriots last night. Even worse I'm a Jets fan, and the Jets and Pats are supposed to have some kind of rivalry, so how could I support the enemy?

Well, I'm not a Giants fan, so I didn't have any compelling reason to go for the Giants. I wouldn't root against them particularly (because I'm not a Mets fan), but I don't feel any reason to root for them.

For some reason whenever I watch a game I always have to be going for a team. The games are just not as interesting if I don't feel a personal interest in the outcome. Since I'm not a betting man, that means I have to choose a team. Sometimes I'll go for a conference or league in championship games (I rooted for the Tigers over the Cards in 06 because they were the AL representative). Other times I'll root against a team (I always hope the Red Sox lose). But that's not a very systematic way of picking a team to support. Since my football and basketball teams (the Jets and Knicks) have been mediocre at best for the last ten years, I had to choose a surrogate team. In the 90s I picked the 49ers (this wasn't frontrunning per se because the Cowboys were the better team during that decade). Since the Knicks imploded, I started going for the Spurs. Now that 49ers are bad, I've been going for the Pats.

I've always had a soft-side for team-centric, fundamentally sound teams. The Pats were the epitome of a fundamentally sound, egoless team. At least in the beginning they had no stars , no me-first guys, no showboaters. While a lot of that changed this year, I'm already stuck with them. So I went for them to win. With the exception of the Jets games, I hoped they would achieve perfection. No team had ever gone 19-0. I wanted to see perfection, to see history. Big super bowl upsets have happened before, but no team was perfect over 19 games. Sports is all about historic moments, and I wanted to see something I could colloquially "tell my grandchildren."

Equally as important I wanted to see these guys squirm. Over 30 years later they still celebrate every time the last undefeated team loses. They got to do it again last night. I can't stand people who say things like this:

"We were the first ones to climb Mount Everest," Yepremian said late Saturday. "If New England comes and does it, then they can be the second ones. But you usually don't remember No. 2. I remember Sir Edmund Hillary was the first one to climb Mount Everest. I don't remember who did it the second time. Do you?"
These guys practically define arrogance.

But, you know, despite all of that and even though the Pats lost, it was still worth it just to read this:

Finally, can you guess the last thing we heard as we were walking (OK, hustling) out of the stadium right after the final play? That's right, it was the sound of euphoric Giants fans chanting, "Eighteen and one! Eighteen and one! Eighteen and one!" Yes, it's safe to say the Boston-New York rivalry has been taken to new heights. As a tennis umpire would say, "Advantage, New York."

Eighteen and one! Eighteen and one! Eighteen and one!

I can still hear them. I will always hear them.
Let's follow it up with the Yankees taking back what rightfully belongs to them: a World Series win.

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