Friday, February 3, 2012

The Lesser of Two Evils: New York vs. New England

by Ben

Well folks the Super Bowl is on Sunday, and surprise-surprise, a team from New York and a team from the Boston region will be playing for the title.  As a lifelong D.C. sports fan my first reaction following Championship Game Sunday (two weeks ago!) was a feeling of depression and solitude.  Since 2004 the City of Boston has won 7 professional sports titles, including at least one in each of the four major sports.  That’s three more titles than all of the Washington Professional franchises have won…EVER. We did not include the D.C. United into this conversation because soccer is not one of the four major sports, so the soccer hooligans can hold their angry emails. New York recently won their 27th World Series title in 2009, and the Giants won the Super Bowl 4 years ago, while the Redskins really have not been serious contenders since the Tumbling Turk Brothers forget how to coordinate field goal snaps.

The Mount Rushmore of obnoxious fan bases is without a doubt, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh. This year’s Super Bowl features two of these fan bases putting most of us D.C. natives and HOMETOWN HEROES in an uncomfortable position.  Either way, after Sunday, one of these insufferable fan bases will be loud and bragadocious for the next year.  They will turn every conversation into a not so friendly reminder that their team won the 2012 Lombardi Trophy. 

Many of you out there are gamblers and therefore you will be rooting for the team in which your money is resting on, but for the rest of us it’s going to be a tough game to watch.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great matchup full of compelling storylines, but underneath all of that is the fact that there will be yet another ticker tape parade in Beantown or the Big Apple.  The thought of this should make all of your stomach’s queasier than watching the yet to be released Snooki sex tape.  (Don’t kid yourselves folks. Snooki already has one and is waiting to have it “mysteriously” leaked on the internet in a year or so when she has become irrelevant again.)

With all of that said I will lay out for you a few pros and cons for rooting for either team come this Sunday.  And remember folks, one team will win the Super Bowl, but with another ring being shipped to New York or Boston, America loses.



Boston accents make my blood boil.  And if I have to hear a debate in a bar that goes like this, “Tauwghm Brady is the best qwuartahback to EVAH play football. Nauwght to mention his teahs praughwbably cuhre cancah!”  then I am probably going to take a 6 pack of Samuel Adams and hurl it against a brick wall!

The Closeted Boston Fans will continue to come out of the woodworks. Has anyone noticed that the amount of Boston fans has doubled, nay tripled, since 2004? I have glowing respect for the fans of Boston sports that long suffered before this ungodly decade of championship excellence.  They stood by after Bucky Dent’s improbable home run.  They stood by when Buckner let the ball go through his legs.  And they stood by throughout the Rick Pitino and Drew Bledsoe eras.  These are the people I can respect because they suffered similar if not greater pains than us D.C. Sports fans.  It’s the people who can’t name 3 players on any Boston team (combined!) who all of sudden own a jersey for every team that truly piss me off.  Isn’t it weird though how the guy who wears a #34 Pierce Celtics jersey has no idea what Pierce’s first name is?  They will continue to come out of nowhere if the Patriots win on Sunday.  I for one cannot stand these bandwagoners, and I could certainly see myself stuffing a banana in their bandwagon’s tailpipe.


The pursuit of Greatness. The New England Patriots have been led by the incomparable duo of Coach Bill Belichick and Quarterback Tom Brady since 2001.  Spygate aside, Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of all time.  His ability to prepare, make adjustments, and get the most out of his players is second to a very select few.   The Patriots are a modern day dynasty and have been able to continue to pump out victories and championships under this leadership.  This has become very rare over the past decade or so, and it is something special to watch.

With a fourth ring, Tom Brady vs. Joe Montana will be a legitimate conversation. Josh McDaniels, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis. These are just a few names of people who would not have the jobs they hold today if it were not for Tom Brady.  If it weren’t for Tom Brady, Josh McDaniels would be modeling for Gap Kids, Bill O’Brien would be selling insurance, and Charlie Weis would be a competitive eater. All of us have heard Tom Brady’s story ad naseum, but it truly is something special.  He was not even the every day starter in college, was overlooked by every NFL team 6 times, and came out of nowhere to become one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.  With 4 rings, Tom Brady will be mentioned in the same breath as Joe Montana, and deservedly so.  It could be a fun debate to have for a long long time.

Chad Ochocinco would get a Super Bowl ring.  There is no mistaking the fact that Ocho has been a colossal disappointment in New England.  He was signed for $6 million, and many envisioned him having a historic season playing with Tom Brady.  Well, Ocho’s season has gone about as well as Jaleel White’s acting career after Family Matters.  He’s made 15 catches for 276 yards and 1 touchdown in 15 games this season.  He has been deactivated in the playoffs and is in real jeopardy of not being active in the Super Bowl.  But would it surprise anyone if he was activated for the Big Game and hauled in 10 catches for 180 and a touchdown? It wouldn’t surprise me one bit, and giving him the platform of being a Super Bowl Champion could only be a great thing for ESPN, twitter, VH1 (another dating show perhaps?), and any and all other social avenues.  Go get em Chad!



New Yorkers. The fan base of New York Sports makes my blood boil more than having to watch Rex Grossman play quarterback for the beloved Redskins.  The only thing more obnoxious than New York fans is a pack of New York fans who just drank 3 Red Bulls while watching their team win.  I’ve heard New York fans utter such phrases as “they (The Giants) owe us this one!” or “We deserve this championship!”  How much do these entitled fans think their teams “owe” them?  First off your baseball team has won 27 rings, and your football team won 4 years ago while Redskins Nation was still reeling by the murder of our star player and fan favorite.  I will always resent the Giants, but that 2007-2008 Super Bowl Championship was all the more painful for us Redskins fans.  Giants fans would be insufferable if their team won another ring…


Eli’s first ring already has done a TON for Down syndrome awareness, so just think about what a second ring would do! Seeing one of their own bucking the odds for one ring was monumental, but a second ring would completely…

OK that’s enough of that bit.  I can feel the flames from Hell burning the bottoms of my feet.  Down Syndrome is one of the crappiest hands that God deals out, so making jokes about these people is not where I wanted this to go. People with Down syndrome already have it hard enough and being mentioned in the same breath as Eli Manning is just plain cruel.  On the other hand, you cannot deny the excess drool that drips out of Eli’s mouth guard.

On a more serious note, Eli Manning has really cemented himself as one of the game’s best.  The 2011 season has been one to remember for the younger Manning as he led 4th quarter comebacks seemingly every week, and set a career high with 4,933 yards passing.  He made a comment at the beginning of the year that he considered himself in the same breath as the Tom Brady’s of the league and he was ripped relentlessly for it.  To his credit, he has backed up that talk and another ring would all but confirm the fact that he is one of the best in the business. Eli has earned the respect of so many with his play this season and all of it is over due and deserved.

Another side story involving Eli is that this would be his 2nd ring which would be one more than older brother Peyton.  While Peyton’s career may be going the way of Orlando Bloom’s acting career, Eli’s career is on the ascent.   It could also make Thanksgiving dinner at the Manning compound very awkward:

Archie: OK Eli, you get two pieces of turkey for both of your rings, and Peyton you get only one. 

Peyton: Awww DAD! That’s so unfair. Peyton leaves table and storms up to his room.

The final Pro for the Giants winning the Super Bowl –I just threw up in my mouth a little bit– has to do with the Washington Redskins.  In a rather disappointing, discouraging, and overall dismal season, the Washington Redskins defied the odds and beat the New York Giants twice!  Beating the NFC champs twice in one season is great, but saying you swept the Super Bowl champs is a horse of a different color.  It would make this season go from a full on abortion to just an unplanned pregnancy.  When those incredulous New Yorkers are running around our town running their yaps about their latest and greatest team we can always respond with “Yea, well you couldn’t beat the Redskins”, and it will help us D.C. natives sleep at night.

In a perfect world people would just root for the teams that play in the cities they live in.  But we don’t live in a perfect world and live is not fair, just ask Chaz Bono.  Our region is full of transplants and New Yorkers and Bostonians flock to our boroughs like the Buffalo Bills front seven flock to John Beck.  Regardless of who wins on Sunday there will be a much hated fan base rejoicing and thus there will be many of us who will contemplate pouring acid into our ears in order to go deaf.  I hope this list of pro’s and con’s can help give you a few interesting nuggets to root for and root against, but in the end it’s going to be a rough one. 

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