New England Patriots

Up Against It

News in this city
Breaks without pity
Long after the war has ended
We’re still in fatigues

I survived Cliff Floyd swinging away per Jerry Manuel’s suggestion.  I survived a Mets collapse in 2007, and a denouement in 2008 (suffering PTMD aftereffects today).  I had to face New Jersey Devils fans the day after losing a dramatic Game 6 overtime Eastern Conference Final.  I had to face the world after the Rangers lost the Stanley Cup Final to the Los Angeles Kings the next day because I didn’t have a choice.

It’s different this time because I am not only relatively new to being a 12th man, I’m relatively new to the whole football experience. Despite having an allegiance to the Jets really since the 2000s (simply because my dad told me as much), I’ve never been so invested in something as rooting for a city that I loved, that in turn turned me into a football fan.  It’s a part of my identity that I struggle with and alternatively makes perfect sense to me.  It’s only fitting that while I wouldn’t trade being a Mets fan and Ranger fan for anything in the world, despite the agony they bring me most of the time. I was also born to be a Seahawks fan. I just didn’t know it till three years ago.

Until last night, the Super Bowl was just a way for me to watch commercials and an excuse to eat bad carbs and to hate on a team like the Patriots (which was only solidified last night) and the half time shows.  When the game ended in the past, I would look forward that baseball season was literally right around the corner.  I know, I have my hockey team, but as you all know by now, baseball is my first true love.

Last night, I paid attention to every single play.

And like watching Henrik Lundqvist crestfallen after losing to the Devils and Kings, like seeing Carlos Beltran’s face in the Mets dugout on the last play at Shea in 2008, I saw the faces of my adopted home city team. And I felt *it* all right.

I am a 12.  For better or worse, I am a 12th Man.  And there’s nothing I can do about it but accept it.

Don’t want to discuss it
I think it’s time for a change
You may get disgusted
And think I’m strange
In that case I’ll go underground
Get some heavy rest
Never have to worry
About what is worst and what is best
Oh oh Domino

Ed_Coop_Safeco There were several different angles I could’ve taken for this post.  Had the Seahawks won last night, this post would’ve been called “The Hawking Dead.”  The premise of it was my Seattle trip in November, which was borne from ironically my baseball fandom.  I never had a chance to write about it, and I figured, it would be repetitive anyway.

Picture it: summer of 2014, Ed and I went to Seattle to follow the Mets.  We had another mission: to get as much Seahawks merchandise as we could.  When we tried to plan another baseball trip to Cincinnati, to see the Mets, we found the prices to be staggering.  To go to OHIO.  Driving wasn’t really an option.  And I started joking that, oh hey, we can probably get cheaper airfare to Seattle in November for your birthday to see the Hawks.

I opened the travel websites.  “OH LOOK HONEY! It IS cheaper!”  Then the snowball got bigger and bigger, till finally we couldn’t ignore the fact that we didn’t just want to go back to Seattle, we wanted to see the Seahawks at home the year they were still Champions.  The Cincy trip was scrapped till 2015.  The Seattle trip was on.

The Hawking Dead was the working title because I had likened my turn to the Seahawks side as turning into a zombie, something I couldn’t control, something I didn’t think I wanted till I got it. Well, maybe being a walker isn’t something we want, but whatever. When I went to the game this time, it was natural.  It felt right.  We get off the light rail, and walk to the stadiums (Safeco Field is open with beer and food specials, and highlights from the “morning” games).  Yet, we weren’t the only people.  It was like a march, people doing their rituals, but everyone (save the few New York Giants fans, who also made the trip) was dressed in their Hawks gear and chanting and doing their gameday rituals.

My husband and I have some game day rituals too.  Last year, the championship season, we made it a point when there was a nationally televised game, we’d order Domino’s.  I know, it’s sacrilegious, living in New York City, but during the Super Bowl in 2013, I saw a Domino’s delivery guy in our lobby.  I told Ed, “You know, I want their bread sticks.”  Ed doesn’t eat pizza, but he likes their pasta bread bowls.  That night, though, they had a modified menu, and he had to get chicken nuggets and plain bread sticks.  Last year, they did away with their bread sticks, only cheesy bread.  But the pasta bread bowl/cheesy bread thing worked for a good year.

This year, the juju stopped working.  Against the Cowboys, we did our thing, and it didn’t work.  So I said, we need to find something else, because it’s officially “weird.”  He said, well, maybe we need to get something else instead of our “usual”.  So I started to make my own pastas, and lo and behold, they were winning again.  OF COURSE our game day ritual had something to do with it.  And we even changed our bars for the non-televised games.  We stopped going to a place we really loved and started going to, ironically, a Patriots bar, but they always had the Seahawks game on for us.

Going to the games, you can’t describe the feeling.  If you’re not a football fan, and I will always maintain I never really cared for it, but I loved tailgating and live games, you can’t help but get caught up in the 12-ness of it all.

Not to mention, I love Seattle, can see all my favorite sights from the stadium, and love to take walks after the game.  It’s not like you can do anything else.  Try jam packing nearly 70,000 people in one area, and have them all go to the train at the same time!  Just writing about it, I can visual it, and FEEL the area.  I miss it right now.  I really wish I was there right now.

We figured, maybe there was a glitch in the matrix, and that’s why they lost that game.  Also, we did have to take into consideration that, well, our superstitions don’t mean jack, and they only make US feel better.

Till then, we kept the ritual.  And on Super Bowl Sunday, we had breakfast at the same place we did last year, and I grabbed coffee with a friend like I did last year.  Then we watched Law & Order: SVU until time for the pregame show.

Our rituals may give us comfort.  But in reality, that’s the only thing.  It’s a defense mechanism, just like my stupid hashtag, #GivingUpSportsForKnitting.

Because I was so invested in football this year, I started to muse if I wasn’t a sports fan, what would like be like?  Instead of, “It’s A Wonderful Life, Coop,” it was more of a thinking that, I need a new hobby that’s less stressful.  Like knitting.

So by now, I’m sure most of you know the risky call that blew up in the Seahawks faces and literally caused them to lose the game. The narrative shifted from, the Seahawks are the real deal and Russell Wilson and Pete Carroll et al have built a dynasty and blah blah blah. Yet it’s all about Tom Brady and Bill Belichick and blah blah blah. I’ve always had an unhealthy hate for the Patriots. Now I have to hear about it from all their shit talking fans who don’t show up during the game and gloat only after they win.

By the same token, though, if the Seahawks use the Patriots “dynasty” as a model – in 13 years and winning four championships. I think most of us wouldn’t trade that for any of our teams.

Last night was different. Last year, Ed sat watching the game, even with a significant lead, late in the game, he wouldn’t let himself believe until the very last second. Last night, he was cool and collected. Me, I felt off. Even with a lead, I didn’t feel comfortable. So many things didn’t go the way of the team. And if you look at the rest of the game, you’ll realize that it’s not the last 30 seconds that made the game. Marshawn Lynch even said it was a team effort, and they win as a team, they lose as a team.

Even as a die hard Mets fan, I never blamed Tom Glavine for his shitty ass performance on the last day of 2007. It didn’t help, of course. Yet, when I look at the team performance in September, THAT was why they lost. It shouldn’t have come to that game. Last year, when the Rangers were in the Stanley Cup Final, they blew not one, not two, but THREE late leads that led to overtime wins for the Kings. THAT was the difference. Not that they lost game five. They were lucky there WAS a game five.

Instead, our Domino’s ritual became a punch line, since I threw a plate of breadsticks with hot sauce and blue cheese after the blown play, and well, I had some cleaning up to do.  Thank goodness for Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  And paint.  And strategically placed artwork.

Yes, I realize now it wasn’t just about the last minute of the game.  Try rationalizing that while you’re watching.

I could never give up sports for knitting. I wouldn’t be able to keep it real with assholes like Shane Victorino (#BlameShaneVictorinosMothersUterus) or Cody Ross (you’re GARBAGE), and well, if I have one place to be an asshole fan, it’s CitiField.

As Mrs. Senor Solly said earlier, there she is.  Or rather there I am.  I’ve always been here.  I’m not going away.

The game ended, Post Seahawks Win at CenturyLinkand I start hearing about Super Bowl Champions The New England Patriots, and I told Ed, can we please watch some baseball or something.

So MLB Network was on, and I got to hear familiar strains of my favorite season of all.  Lo and behold, pitchers and catchers is right around the corner.

It’s 64 days till Opening Day, it will soon be spring, the Stanley Cup playoffs are right around the corner, and before we know it, we’ll be following the Seahawks to Baltimore for our first “road trip road trip” (since all our Seahawks games are road trips, technically, for us anyway).

I woke up this morning, and it was snowing.  Perhaps it would’ve been more appropriate if it was raining.  It rains every time we go to a sporting event in Seattle.  But, rain also means change, it means growth, it means renewal.

Win or lose, last night, it was the end of a fun fuckin’ year for football.  And it’s really the first time I’ve genuinely meant it.

In the great game of life, you win some, you lose some.  Being a 12 is a lot more than rooting for the Seattle Seahawks.  You have to genuinely understand the amount of pride this team brings to the city and the Pacific Northwest region.  It’s a state of mind, maybe not unlike being a “walker,” but a conscious and very much alive walker.

Like many of the losses I’ve witnessed with my teams, it’s tough but you rationalize it.  You accept it.  It gets better.  Well, it BETTER get better.  The feeling can’t get much worse than what we all felt last night.

This team will be motivated and not let the loss get to their heads.  They’ll learn from it, they’ll have a chip on their shoulder because of it.  And hopefully, put the finishing touches on another winning year next year.

Till then, baseball and hockey will be a place holder.  The celebratory champagne will wait in the fridge for another day. It’s okay to hurt.  We’ll be up against these feelings throughout the years, it goes with the territory of being a fan.

 

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Take Those Rings And Shove ‘Em

There’s a curious thing happening here in New York City.

The Rangers are playing some stellar hockey, to the extent that it’s time to think about playoffs, and I mean *deep* into the playoffs.

Then there’s the Jeremy Lin phenomenon on the Knicks, where it’s all anyone is talking about.  Even lay people who aren’t into basketball (like yours truly) have been jumping on the #LINning tweet hash tags and wondering what this kid can’t seem to do.

The Rangers are getting their due respect.  Henrik Lundqvist is finally coming into his own as an elite goaltender, Ryan Callahan is proving to everyone why he was named Captain of the team and these guys would take a bullet for one of their own teammates.  The Knicks are making their fans believers again, to the extent that people who had given up on them a long time ago are coming around again.

That’s not to say everyone is thrilled with these happenings.  I’m sure Devils, Isles and Flyers fans don’t care much about how the Rangers are performing (or Bruins fans, for that matter).  Is anyone outside of New York following Jeremy Lin-sanity?

So then when anyone brings up the fact that Henrik Lundqvist is a frontrunner for the Hart, Vezina and any trophy that can be anointed to any hockey player not a defenseman, or that anyone is a great player in New York…those who don’t care?  Those who like New York sports?

“How many rings does Henrik have again?”

“Has Jeremy Lin won any championships?”

Yes, folks, there are those people who want to piss all over the success of individual players by pointing out their shortcomings in the championship arena.

I could go the shorthand route and say, “Well it’s a team sport and any rings earned is based on team performance.”

But it’s something that any fan goes straight to, regardless of sport.  I mean, has everyone turned in Yankees fans to use their team’s overall success to diminish the greatness of a few individual players?

Look at the Devils’ Martin Brodeur.  Uncle Daddy Fatso has won three Cups under my watch and he was the star goaltender of those teams.  Yet, those teams won as a UNIT with the likes of Scott Stevens and Ken Daneyko leading the way.  Without those players, I doubt you get to fully appreciate how good Brodeur was for those teams.  And yet, when we all point and laugh at Marty, any of their Devils fans are all, “Well, how many Cups has Henrik won?”

Are you FUCKING SERIOUS?

Then there’s the whole Eli Manning ballwashing that has occurred.  Not to diminish any of his accomplishments because I’ll even admit that he has shown the capacity to really come through for his team when they need him most.  Yet, a few months ago, weren’t his fanbase and the local media throwing him under the bus for…well…whatever reason?  Look, mad respect for him…but does he win those rings with any other team?  Maybe not.

But then, does that mean he’s one of the best?  That remains to be seen.  But then we can look at the careers of Jim Kelly or Dan Marino and see that sometimes, life isn’t fair in sports.  Some of the best QBs haven’t won ONE ring, let alone two. Then Tom Brady is known for his failures to lead his team to two Super Bowl title when he already has earned THREE with the New England Patriots.

Football is strange though, because there are smaller margins of error in a season, and most games are more critical because there are fewer to play.

Basketball also has those great players who never won a championship.  I was a fan back in the day when John Stockton and Karl Malone were the core unit of the Utah Jazz.  They’re both Hall of Fame players, and don’t have a ring to their accomplishments.  Does this mean they were horrible players?  True, they’re not Michael Jordans, but even Dirk Nowitzki won a championship last year with the Dallas Mavericks, when the Miami Heat were all but anointed champions before a game was even played.

And don’t get me started on baseball.  I live in New York City, where I have to bear witness to the Yankee ballwashing that goes on a daily basis, 162 games a year, and 365 days a year when it’s all anyone harps on.  Forget the “Miracle” 1969 Mets.  Forget the Amazin’ 1986 Mets that we still haven’t gotten over.  It’s Derek Jeter – BEST SHORTSTOP EVAH according to their fans and local media.  How about Mariano Rivera?  All-time saves leader and has five rings.  But look at the teams they played on.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason that those teams won because of the TEAMS and not because of one or two players?  Look at the Jazz again.  If it were up to one or two players, championships would be easier to come by.  Even the 1980s Mets were faltered because of the game of chance.

Which is all some championship seasons are.  Chance.

But then, look at the Rangers.  If they win the Stanley Cup this year, IF Henrik Lundqvist wins the Vezina or Hart (or that may be one of his teammates, Marian Gaborik), IF IF IF IF…

When someone talks about how great of a season and improbable run as Henrik Lundqvist has had, they’ll say, “Yeah…but he doesn’t THREE CUPS.”

To that, I only have one response.

TAKE THOSE RINGS AND SHOVE ‘EM STRAIGHT UP YOUR ASS KID!!!

To take a team accomplishment and make it into an individual accomplishment defeats the purpose of sports.  But hey, it’s a game of one-upmanship for fans to participate in.  But it’s a flawed argument and I hope that “real” fans understand the difference.

Little Miss Sunshine: Super Bowl 46

So there you have it, folks.  Another football season is complete, with the Super Bowl ending just around 10 pm EST yesterday.

As a Jets fan, I was joking around for the past two weeks that I was rooting for a meteor or an epicenter to form in Indianapolis.  The reality is, though, while watching the game, my hatred for the New England Patriots kind of surpassed anything that I’d ever felt.  I can’t say I was rooting for them to lose, but I felt I snickered more at their misery and mistakes more than anything else.   When the game was official, I knew that the Schadenfreude delight was now complete.

I had a Stan Marsh moment too at one point: I learned something on Super Bowl Sunday.

I learned that I was a football fan.  I watched the game, and I enjoyed it.  I’ve always said that football is the sport I care the least about, but I found the Super Bowl fun and entertaining, and I was able to eat bad carbs and get away with it.

This is the first Super Bowl that I’ve covered here at Gal For All Seasons, since I’ve only been writing since basically the beginning of football season in 2011.  So maybe I’ll incorporate this every year into the Super Bowl recap.

In the movie Little Miss Sunshine, Olive’s father, played by Greg Kinnear, is a pseudo-motivational speaker.  His philosophy is coined on taking the steps of being a “Winner.”  He starts off the movie by saying, “There are two people in this world: winners and losers.”  The same could be said about sports, obviously, and the Super Bowl is a one-and-done game.  So I’m channeling my inner Little Miss Sunshine today.  Some of the winners and losers may be obvious, but I’m going to have fun with it, as only Coop can do.

WINNER:  Tom Coughlin.

At the beginning of the game, I mentioned to the group I was watching with, that he looked like he aged about 30 years this season.  Talk about a year of ups and downs.  Now he’ll be enshrined in Giants history as one of the best there ever was.

WINNER:  Eli Manning.

This was a no-brainer.  I’ve said all along that I’ve felt that Manning is overrated.  I’ll probably get killed for this, but I still do (you can thank the chemistry of his offensive line for the win last night…not to discount his performance, as he came through when the team needed him most which is more than we can say for the other team).  That said, he’s finally gotten out of the shadow of Peyton…literally.  During this first matchup in 2008, all that was shown was Peyton watching his little brother.  They were in his HOME FIELD…and everyone mentioned that Peyton wasn’t shown once on the broadcast.

Manning may be overrated.  But he’s an overrated QB with two rings.  And will get the respect he deserves, singularly.

WINNER:  Victor Cruz.

I love this guy!  How can one not have fun watching him play?

LOSER:  Bill Belichick.

Cheaters NEVER win, Bill.  I also reacted to Belichick’s vision on screen the way Bluto did to seeing Kent Dorfman’s face on the screen in Animal House.  “AGGGHHHHHHH!”

WINNER: Wes Welker.

Welker has gotten a lot of heat for dropping a crucial pass that could have sealed the fate of the Pats.  He took the criticism, and the blame for it.  He took the high road.  He didn’t need to.  The reality is, it was a poor throw from Brady.  Skip Bayless argued that Brady is one of the most accurate passers of his generation…but it was Brady who made a poor throw to Welker.

At the end of the day, I go back to my original argument.  That this game was the Patriots to lose.  The Giants had absolutely no pressure on them.  And look what happened: they made a somewhat blah game exciting at the end, and they won.

LOSER:  Tom Brady.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

Okay.  I’m done.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

No seriously.  I’m done now.

LOSER:  Gisele Bündchen.

BWAH HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!!!

I’m not a religious person.  But I really dislike when people use their power of prayer for trivialities in life, when there is legitimate suffering in the world.  Especially rich people who have everything.  And don’t get me started on Tim Tebow.  But Gisele’s email heard ’round the world: “Please pray for my Tommy.”  Could you get any more insincere than that?  Here are two people, each independently wealthy in their own right, “praying” for a Super Bowl win?  Get bent.

But it gets better.  Apparently, Gisele had some choice words for her Tommy’s teammates after the loss.  “My husband cannot [expletive deleted] throw the ball and catch the [expletive deleted] ball at the same time.”  I know Brady is one of the best there is, but come on…like he hasn’t choked the same exact fucking game away twice?

Gisele, you seem like an intelligent business woman.  But please keep your mouth shut about your husband’s profession.  It makes all women look bad.

LOSER:  This broad.

Speaking of making all women look bad, Stacey Tavor Merwin has set the feminist movement back at least 45 years by emasculating her husband to the extent that when they got married last year, her husband (who makes a livelihood of sports photography) mentioned that there will be a chance that the Super Bowl might fall on their anniversary.  So what does she do?  Create a hubbub reminiscent of Bridezillas.  And insist they go out on one of the biggest sports nights of the year…and writes about the wifely sacrifices SHE needs to make.  Like walking the dog.  Big fucking whoop.  It’s like the old Chris Rock bit that used to say, “I take care of my kids.”  Yeah, you want a cookie?  YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR KIDS.  And you’re supposed to take the dog out on walks. And if your husband wants to watch the Super Bowl, you could compromise and go out to dinner the night before…or have some kind of special weekend away. I know from being married, it’s about the other 364 days a year, not just that one day of the year.

Women like her need to get over themselves.

Read Kristine Reese’s post on that in The Green Room from Sunday.  Her take on it is better than anything I could ever say.

WINNER:  Womankind.

I was in a house watching the game with a ratio of 3 women: 1 man.  Take that, Ms. Merwin. (And her husband could have totally joined us)

WINNER:  Kelly Clarkson.

Clarkson nailed the Star Spangled Banner.  Some singers make the National Anthem more about “them” and their vocal styles, as opposed to making Francis Scott Key proud, with the way it’s supposed to be sung.

LOSER:  The vicious media.

Kelly Clarkson is a healthy role model for women everywhere.  Because she doesn’t weight 75 lbs is cause for vicious attacks on her body.  She’s healthy.  She looks phenomenal.  Leave it alone, the criticism gets old.

LOSER:  The Half-time Show.

I am a child of the ’80s.  I like dating myself to the extent that I can tell people, “I remember music BEFORE Madonna.”  Like her or not, Madonna helped change the face of music, she changed fashion, she changed the face of pop culture and she changed the face of women and sexual notions.  I was cautiously optimistic about her half-time show, as I’ve heard her shows are very detailed.

She started out strong, got bored in the middle and it ended okay.  But I felt like that episode of The Simpsons, where Homer was watching Bachman Turner Overdrive play and he kept yelling, “TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!! TAKIN’ CARE OF BUSINESS!!”  To which they said, well, that’s all the crowd wants to hear anyway…so they break into TCB, to which Homer yells out, “GET TO THE GOOD PART!!”

Yeah.  That was how I felt watching that.  While I know Madonna has evolved over the course of her career, let’s be fair: people want to hear the ’80s shit.  If she had stuck to that, I think it would have been a lot better.

LOSERS: Sore winners.

I am a Jets fan.  I probably weighed the pros and cons of this Super Bowl a few times.  I wasn’t going to root for anything, but the Patriots losing did make me smile a little.  The Jets had nothing to do with the games.  They haven’t even friggin played since New Year’s Day.  But sore winners still make it a point to bring up the Jets’ faults.  Again, what the fuck does that have to do with anything?  And most Jets fans were happy about how it turned out last night.  Those who feel the need to bring that up don’t deserve to be happy about their team’s win.  Fuck them and the white horse they rode in on.

WINNER: New York

My mom once pointed out to me that I have an unnatural hate towards all things Boston.  That’s not true.  I don’t dislike the Red Sox.  You know, that whole “enemy of my enemy is my friend” BS.  In 2004, I was pleased as punch when Boston knocked out the Yankees and then went on to win the World Series (mostly as a baseball historian).  But I never liked the town of Boston.  It aggravates me to the point that I just trash it when I’m there.  My mom tells me I have a New York City complex.  While that may be true, the reality is, Boston doesn’t make it any better by contributing to the whole “inferiority complex” thing.  Like Philly. I also have an unnatural hate towards all things New England.  Not lobster.  Or New England clam chowda.  But Connecticut: HATE.  Massachusetts:  Hate hate hate.  I’m sure if I visited Vermont or New Hampshire, I’d find a reason to hate them too.

So New England – Fuck you!  Take a cue from what it’s like to be from a REAL metropolis.

Podcast Predictions

Last night was a monumental evening.  Well, for me anyway.  Two things happened.  One was I launched my official Gal For All Seasons podcast.  I didn’t know how I would feel about just talking to myself for a half hour, but I think it could have gone a lot worse.  Many thanks to NDB Media for producing the show.  Looking forward to working with you guys over there.

The other thing was that I actually made some Super Bowl predictions.  I don’t really care about the outcome — I won’t cry if the Patriots lose, but I usually root for AFC in the Bowl.  I didn’t last year (mostly because I hated the Steelers and really have a fangirl crush on Aaron Rodgers).  This year, for obvious reasons, I won’t be either.  But I’m not exactly rooting for the Giants either.  Getting all that out of the way, I have some predictions that I mentioned on the show.

One is that I think this will be a high scoring game.  I also think it’s Tom Brady’s game to lose.  If you think about it, the Giants are going into this game with absolutely no pressure.  They won in 2008, and they could very well win again, against a “superior” quarterback in Brady (blech).  If the Giants win, they’ve toppled over Goliath.  If the Patriots win, well, they beat a team that got by on luck.  It could go either way.  But I’m predicting a BIG time Brady choke.

Also predicted a big game from Victor Cruz.  Probably one of the few Giants whom I sincerely like.  How can I hate on a guy who relishes his Jerseyness?

I also predict that I’ll be eating a lot of carbs.  I’ll be fat and happy on the couch.  That’s something I know I’ll be getting right.

Most of all, enjoy yourselves and drink responsibly.  And that’s a view from The Coop!

IDK

I am a Jets fan.  I’ve made that clear on several occasions.  Hell, I even have a blog dedicated to my fandom of three teams, one of which is the Jets.  But football is a curious sport.  I came around late on football, although I always followed the Jets, it took me a long time to get into the rivalries and playoffs implications and having to pay attention to what other teams do.  Football is really for the ADD addled masses of our society.  It’s a one day thing (potentially spilling over to Mondays), and it gives you an excuse to drink beer, eat wings and go to bars on Sunday.  Not that a nice girl like me does things like that.

Okay.  You can stop laughing now.

Anyway, my point is, I never got Jets and Giants hating on each other.  I mean, whatever, I don’t dislike the Giants, I don’t exactly go out and buy their logo-emblazoned stuff, but I know many Giants fans and always am happy to see them happy.  This year, while watching Jets/Giants, I was at my mom’s.  Her boyfriend is a Giants fan (though if you ask me, he’s just a big NFC guy, he’ll make a special exception to the Baltimore Ravens because he likes their stadium.  Go figure).  She asked me what it was like watching a game with a Giants fan.  I shrugged.  He isn’t an idiot on Twitter, talking shit like they won the fucking Super Bowl.  But I was fine with it.  Besides, I knew the Jets season was over, win or lose.  It could have been, I dunno, the Packers for all I cared and I still would have felt “whatever” about it.

So now, I am walking around New York City, and EVERYWHERE I look, there is some kind of Giants thing around.  Whether it’s a booster, or someone posting a photo of Times Square, the Empire State Building…it’s everywhere.  This isn’t sour grapes or jealousy, it’s just something I thought of.  I was either ignorant to it or just maybe I was thinking of not jinxing anything (Yeah, remember what I said about the whole neuroses of sports fans earlier? I didn’t eat ANYTHING that was remotely Boston related when they played New England last year, and I also wouldn’t eat Heinz ketchup during the conference championship against Pittsburgh…yeah, I know)…but I don’t remember all this hullabaloo last year.

Yes, I know that the Jets practically “guaranteed” a Super Bowl entry.  I also like to point out that Mark Messier “guaranteed” a Rangers win almost 18 years ago, and ever since then, EVERYONE has “guaranteed” a win of fill-in-the-blank.  So whatever haterade coming towards the Jets is deserved.  But I seriously don’t remember such a big deal being made over the Jets last year.  I’d have barely known about it, except, I was a fan and the bar around the corner had beer specials.

I was talking to my Jets blogging touchstone, Jon Presser, earlier on Twitter, and we started off talking about the Mets, then I asked if there was this much attention being paid to the Jets last year.

I got a kick out of that.  After all, I’ve seen it myself.  I really don’t get it.  Football fans can hate whomever they want, but I’m sure there are teams that Jets fans should hate, and they’re not in the NFC.  I also don’t mind when Jets fans root for “New York,” though I don’t particularly do that myself.  Depending on the matchups, I decide who I am rooting for.  But that’s besides the point.  My issue is that Rex Ryan has said he doesn’t want the Jets to be “little brother” in this town.  They fell short, but I see what he means.  It wouldn’t have friggin mattered if the Jets went to the Super Bowl or won last year.  Because they didn’t make it this year, and the Giants are one game away from it, well, that is everything.  I know, woe is us, but I can’t catch a goddamn break with my teams. UGH!

When I said I didn’t dislike the Giants or their fans, yet it seems there’s an incredible amount of hatred towards the team in green, this was the response I got.

Well, look, here it is.  I wish my friends who root for the Giants the best of luck.  All I know is I will be a happy camper-ette if the Patriots lose.  Like Jon said, would the hypocrites come to roost, or because the team wasn’t expected to “do anything” this year, and they’re in the championship game, does it mean it was a success?

IDK.  But according to those same folks, the Jets not making it past the AFC conference game two years in a row meant nothing.  Well, I have to agree.  I would have liked it to go further and they didn’t do shit this year.  But if NYG’s don’t make it to the big show after Sunday, I don’t want to hear it.  Goddammit, anyway.

Phrontrunners

Every sport has them.  I couldn’t help but think of them today when I thinking about my last post on the New England Patriots, and how much I dislike them.  No one ever talks about how they could barely give tickets away in previous years, when no one really gave a shit about them as a team, especially in their own region, especially before they became Brady’s bunch.  Well, maybe that’s a little harsh.  But I suppose three Super Bowl championships in the last decade, and also in a span of five seasons can get some national recognition, especially with a pretty boy quarterback.

A fine recipe for frontrunning.

It’s tough to see what came first: the frontrunner or the fan.  I couldn’t help but think of that during the baseball playoffs this year, especially with two teams, the Yankees and the Phillies.  Of course, I have a direct hatred of both these teams.  The Yankees pretty much for what they represent.  The Mets could literally pitch their first no-hitter in history, and the local papers would say, “Mets Lose Perfect Game in Third, Get First No-Hitter.”  This has to do with the Yankee-bias in the local media for sure.

Fuck GMJ and His Old Man!

But homerism abounds in the Yankee world as well as in Philadelphia.  See, Philly cries (like Sarge said the Mets do) each year whether they win or lose, claiming they are in New York’s shadow, but they bring a lot of that on themselves.  When Jimmy Rollins stands up at the parade in 2008, and calls out Jose Reyes…and player he didn’t even FACE let alone who didn’t even make the friggin playoffs that year…it says to me there’s a little bit of a bias in their own eyes, and it didn’t even fuckin matter then.

I guess my point of this ramble is that I’ve seen a lot of frontrunning on either side of that spectrum, and it’s a question I’ve raised with myself: are these people “fans” before the team starts to win, or after?  It seems simplistic, and I’m sure it’s an open-ended questions.  Yet, I feel in the case of the Phillies and Yankees, it’s worse more-so in the case of the Phillies simply because they rarely win anything.

Prior to 2007, no one went to Mets/Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park.  NO ONE. I could go to Mets/Phils there and it would easily be 65/35 in favor of Mets fans.  Then 2008 rolled around, and there was probably close to 50/50.  Today, you’d be hard-pressed to see someone in blue and orange, and even if they do root for the Mets, they might not be wont to wear their colors.  Funny what “winning” will do to a franchise.

Here’s my thing: everyone will point and say no one cared about the Phillies prior to 2007, and they’d be right.  Hell, I think even Philly sports fans agree with that.  I’ve often said five World Series rings mean nothing, as they’d trade it all in for one Super Bowl.  Even when the Flyers made their improbable Cup run, I theorized the same thing (a few Philly fans shot me down, but I know them, and I know they are real fans…like, two out of the five I know).  Anyway, my point is, booing Ryan Howard as he collapsed from an Achilles injury, as he made the last out the second year in a row to end the Phillies’ postseason run, means that Philly fans have met our expectations loud and clear, literally.

Winning can also bring the worst in storied franchises.  Look at the Yankees.  I know they are deep-rooted in baseball history, they are the winningest franchise, etc etc etc.  If you’ll excuse me, barf.  Anyway, I get it.  But prior to 1996, no one was a Yankees fan.  None, at least, were out and proud about it.  And I will venture to say many “lifelong Yankees fans*” (*Since 1996) were turncoat Mets fans.  I know this, because I know at least five people in my family who qualify for that title (after we openly rooted for the Mets together in 1986…wearing Mets stuff…that had nothing to do with an East Coast bias, trust me). Meanwhile, the Yankees main concern is whether their overweight overpaid “ace” CC Sabathia will opt out.  As Tyler Kepner said, the Yankees after an unsuccessful postseason is akin to a banker running to Tiffany’s to fix a damaged relationship.

A team with a $200mm payroll has to spend more in order to gather goodwill with its fans?  No wonder they are all spoiled brats: winning the World Series each year is an unrealistic goal.  Period.

Sports teams all over have frontrunners.  But I couldn’t help but wonder when the Mets start winning, will all those annoying fans be ours?  I know that I’m not going anywhere, I know I’ll have my season ticket package, will still follow them on the road, will still write about them.  I feel like because I am super connected with all these folks that I’ll be rejoicing with several close friends whom I also consider family.  Yet, there will be a shit ton more people who are going simply because the Mets are winning.  I know they are hard to watch at times now, but I still manage to watch, even live, even on the road (even chronicled here, as a devoted female fan in the area!).  Am I somehow better than the people who won’t go?  Can’t say I am.

All you hear is silence in CitiField now.  But the Yankees and Phillies fans have shown they can be spoiled brats because of a taste of winning they have.  Which is frontrunneritis.  Their players better get used to it, especially Ryan Howard, whose 5/$125mm contract goes into effect next year…which he’s already projected to be out.  This should be entertaining (also, for other Phillies schadenfraude, read Studious Metsimus‘ post on Phorecasting the Phuture).

I know sports are not immune to frontrunneritis.  It’s just something to keep us entertained when teams win, then their ultimate downfall when they lose.

The HATETriots: An East Coast Bias

I really have no idea why I dislike Boston (and Massachusetts, and hell, most of New England) so much.

I don’t *hate* the Boston Bruins, although a rivalry would be realistic between my Original Six team (the Rangers) and their O6 team.

I don’t *dislike* the Boston Red Sox, although my Mets played them in the 1986 World Series, but you know the old saying…”The enemy of my enemy…” Etc., etc.  (And well, I really REALLY dislike the Yankees, for certain).

My mother makes fun of me.  She claims that my bias against Boston and surrounding areas is a “New York Superiority Thing.”  I can’t disagree, although it’s not a conscious thing.  My friend Ms. Chap said it best…when she moved to Boston for three years after spending most of her life in the New York surrounding areas, she said, “I hated it on sight.”  I felt the same way the first time I ever visited Beantown.

No disrespect to my Boston brothers and sisters.  I just don’t care for it all that much up there.

But hey, my dislike of the New England Patriots? Yeah, it’s intense.  And it’s for shizzle.  For realz.  You get the idea, I’m sure.  I certainly have an East Coast Bias, and it has nothing to do with their location.  They’re certainly my Jets’ enemy, and I relish that like no other.  Like I’ve said before, there’s no shit talker like an NFL shit talker, and there’s no bias like an NFL bias.

Look at these two pretty boys!

Possibly because their pretty boy Tom Brady is their star QB.  Although I think he’s kind of like the “Derek Jeter” for lack of a better term QB of NE.  He’s a media ho’, a guy whose likeness is everywhere.  I can’t deny he is talented.  I really can’t.  And yes, I can acknowledge that my guy, Mark Sanchez, is a teensy bit overrated.  That, I think, has more to do with New York-sized expectations, though.  This is the pretty boy bowl, for sure.  And no one likes a pretty boy.  Unless, you know, you root for one.

So the Jets have a huge amount of expectations steeped upon them this year.  Two years in a row, the young-ish team has made it to the Conference championship game, to fall just short each year.  To say there’s a high level expected of them this season is without a doubt an understatement.

Yet, after a strong home start, then falling short two games on the road, people are freaking the funk about them potentially coming back to JetLife Stadium next weekend being 2-3.

Yet, they seem to forget that this is a team that goes through these hiccups each season, that they could just as easily be 3-2 coming back home.  It wouldn’t be the best case scenario, but it’s a decent case and they could make up for the lack of goodwill these last two games by taking this from the Patriots.

It also would intensify the rivalry.  I mean, look at Twitter during these games.  Lots of shit talkers on each side.  It’s fun, and it’s real.  It’s East Coast Bias, through and through.

The Jets are taking this game seriously too.  The Jets know they’ve been knocked around, they don’t need to read the local papers and listen to the Monday morning QBs about it, they are very aware. They also realize how important it is to win against the Jets.  Key to the game this week: Make it Physical.

Nick Mangold has been out nursing an ankle injury.  There was a chance he was to come back last week, but he’s declared himself fit for duty today.  This will certainly change the dynamic of their running game, which happens to be the Patriots’ strong point.  Either way, the dynamic needs to change.  One game can change that dynamic, for better or worse.  Things can get a little hairy, as Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason have voiced grievances over the playcalling (recent whipping boy Brian Schottenheimer coming under fire too for it).

You know what I say about that?  PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY PANTS AND DEAL WITH IT!  You’re playing the New England goddamn Patriots, for fuck’s sake.  Take the bull by the balls, and kick their asses all over Gillette Stadium.

Now, that I’m done with that.  I really really don’t like the Patriots.  So we win this week, and do what you want when you get back to JetLife, as long it means winning.  Kthxbye.