Sprinkles or jimmies? Home or hooome? New York Giants or Philadelphia Eagles? This split in loyalies have created a pseudo-Mason-Dixon line separating North and South Jersey. With the commencement of the 2003 NFL season, the Giants vs. Eagles rivalry is stirring tensions here on campus.
The Eagles and the Giants, both competing in the NFC East division, are predicted to be top contenders for the title this year. Even though the rivalry dates back to 1933, there has been more focus on our local teams recently due to the fall of the Dallas Cowboy dynasty and small expectations from Washington Redskins in the past few years.
Last season, Philly finished with a 12-4 record (over Giants’10-6) and the NFC East championship title.
This year may pan out differently, considering the Giants are 1-1 with a victory over the St. Louis Rams and an overtime defeat at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, while the Eagles suffered two losses to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New England Patriots.
It is understood that Giants fans are mainly from New York and North Jersey, since the team hails from New York and plays in East Rutherford, NJ. Most South Jerseyans tend to associate themselves with the Philadelphia area and therefore root for the Eagles. Now, consider the fact that the College consists of 95 percent in-state students.
With this combination of avid football fans from both North and South Jersey, there is bound to be some head-butting on Sunday and Monday nights.
“Last year, whenever the Eagles lost, I’d make sure to hunt down my friends (that are fans) to rub it in,” John Jaskula, sophomore business major, said. “I’d leave messages on people’s white boards, too.”
Some Eagles fans are notorious for being rowdy and hostile. They cheered when Michael Irvin was temporarily paralyzed and when the fans heaved snowballs at Santa Claus.
“Philly fans are not used to winning teams,” Shawn Dessaigne, senior music education major, said, “so we are quick to break out with enthusiasm.” Many Eagles fans argue that the Giants are technically a New York team, even though they play in New Jersey. “Northeast New Jersey seems to associate themselves with New York,” Dessaigne said. “I guess the area, along with the New York Giants and New York Jets, must be ashamed of New Jersey.”
Apparently this criticism does not phase most Giants fans. Will Dean, sophomore philosophy major, said, “I just see it as a quirk of geography. Manhattan is closer to New Jersey than most of New York state anyway.”
Travel time to the stadiums is one deciding factor. Kimberly Henchinski, sophomore elementary education major, said, “Why would I drive two hours to see the Giants when it only takes thirty minutes to get to Philly?”
However, location isn’t everything. “I live about in the middle (of the two stadiums) so I’m pretty close to both,” Andrew Bazergui, junior physics major, said. “I don’t think it’s that big of a factor.”
Another contributing factor is family tradition. “Even though I am from South Jersey, my dad is originally from New York,” Dean said. “So he is a Giants fan, my older brothers are Giants fans. I was raised that way.”
“Plus living in North Jersey, I have been always been surrounded by the New York media, where most South Jersey news is based around Philly,” Jaskula said.
Whatever the reasoning for this heated rivlary may be, the division is very prevalent on campus. It will be settled when the two are scheduled to face-off at the Meadowlands on Sunday, Oct. 19, and at the Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday Nov. 16. May the best city win!