In my group of friends, the majority of us are either Giants fans or gambling/fantasy mercenaries. Unlike baseball, where there are no crossover alliances, our group in football sways to where the money or the fun is. In baseball, you cannot root for the Mets AND the Yankees. It’s impossible, unnatural and irresponsible. My kids will not be given the option of which particular pinstripes they prefer.
Football however is a whole other beast.
To be honest the only reason why I chose the Giants over the Jets was the color scheme. The Mets were blue and so were the Giants, the end. I’m sure if you told little seven-year-old Tommy Starita that the Jets used to play at Shea Stadium that might have swung my allegiances. To that I take a deep breath and say thank God no one told me that.
Imagine the nightmare of rooting for the Mets AND the Jets?
Sadly there are millions in the tri-state area that suffer from that affliction, including the long time announcer for the Mets Gary Cohen, who has been a Jets season ticket holder for thirty years or so. Shockingly, there have been no scientific studies done regarding being a fan of the Mets/Jets and the shortening of ones life span. Now throw in being Knicks fan and it’s a wonder that fan grouping doesn’t stroke out when they’re 40.
It’s bad enough right now that the baseball team I love more than I love most people is dead broke and play in the toughest division in baseball. It’s bad enough that we probably don’t have legitimate playoff hopes until 2014. It’s bad enough that seven months of the year I have to be numb to losing and embarrassing situations that often come with being a Mets fan.
But then you pile on a winter full of Jets suffering as well?
For the record because of my familiarity with pain and torture I sympathize and do root for the Jets. The previous two seasons I wanted my friend Steebo to finally root for someone in the Super Bowl he didn’t bet on. Despite the obnoxiousness of the head coach (who I would love if he was mine because I love macho bullshit bravado) and a small segment of the population who have a clear football Napoleon complex the Jets fandom are a bunch of good guys and girls who just want to see a winner before they finally die.
It must drive the Jets fans nuts that the Giants have five Super Bowl appearances and only two of those teams were truly great teams, 86 and 90. It must drive Jets fans nuts that the 2000, 2007 and 2011 Giants fucked around in the regular season before going on a run. It must drive the Jets fans nuts that the Giants are the only professional sports team in history to be undefeated in conference championship games, 5-0. I know it does because it drives me nuts every time the Yankees get a heroic performance from Aaron Boone or Aaron Small or Jeffrey Maier.
I’m not here to bash the Jets fan or pile on. That would be an asshole move and I am simply a sympathetic dick. I just want to point out that as similar as the Mets are to the Jets in terms of inflicting anguish and torture on their fan base is as different the Yankees are to the Giants. Sure the Yankees have the most world championships ever, and sure the Giants have the most playoff appearances in football history but that’s where the similarities end.
Now before I go on I am NOT comparing the frustrations of being a Giants fan to the masochistic torture that is being a Jets fan. I’m just going to point out that even though the Giants have three Super Bowl titles and going for their fourth on Sunday it’s not like this ride hasn’t been a tad bumpy. I’m also not going all the way back to the 1930’s, or even to the banner that flew over Giants Stadium in 1978 that said, “15 years of lousy football … we’ve had enough.” I’m just talking about several moments in my lifetime that had me cursing and wondering for a split second if it was better to root for the Jets.
Memories like Al Toon in the end zone, or Flipper Anderson racing into the locker room tunnel. I could mention Chris Calloway failing to recover an onside kick, or the phantom defensive holding call on Keith Hamilton on the D-LINE that wiped out Armstead’s touchdown in the Super Bowl against the Ravens. The epic sadness of the last game of the Simms/LT era ending in a San Francisco shit kicking. Or nine years later in a return to San Francisco and how the official, who was standing right there failed to remember Rich Schubert was eligible and watched him get tackled at the 5 yard line to end the worst football game/collapse of my lifetime against the 49ers. I could mention Plaxico ending our hopes of back-to-back titles with a gunshot or the Eagles collapse last year that ended right before I was going out to eat with Lady and her cousins.
But I won’t.
Because despite all those heartbreaking moments we have Simms’ perfection against the Broncos and Matt Bahr ending the 49ers hopes for a 3peat with his right foot while Norwood ended the Bills dreams with his right foot. We got to watch the greatest linebacker of all time play in only our uniform. We watched Jim Fassel, who everyone thought was drunk at the time guarantee the Giants would make the playoffs, culminating at home with a 41-0 shellacking of the Vikings and Wellington Mara’s famous quote, “This is the Giants team that was referred to as the worst ever to win home-field advantage in the National Football League. And today, on this field of painted mud, we proved that we’re the worst team to ever win the National Football Conference championship.” Maybe best of all, we got 2007.
Somehow, once again this team has a chance to do the impossible and win another Super Bowl with a quarterback named Eli that every Giants fan at one point has hated, maybe even despised. I have never seen anyone in New York go from a shit sandwich to a grilled chicken with melted mozzarella and roasted peppers on warm Italian bread like Eli has. That just doesn’t happen. If you suck you suck, and maybe you’ll have moments that show glimmer of hope before crashing down again – like Kerry Collins. Instead this guy went from not being, according to the NFL players not in the top 100 to being a top 5 QB going for his second ring in four years.
So sure the road at times hasn’t been easy. And sure this team has caused me to pull the hair out of my head several hundred times. Still, no matter what I often repeat to myself six simple words,
“Thank God I’m a Giants fan.”