The Empire State strikes back

On a Monday morning in midtown Manhattan, two men – one sporting a New York Giants sweatshirt, the other a New York Jets cap – meet at a sidewalk newsstand to buy the New York Post. They notice each others’ rival sports apparel and begin a friendly conversation while waiting in line to pay for their periodicals.

Giants Fan: “Ay yo buddy, did you catch the Giants game last night?”

Jets Fan: “Nope, was having lasagna at my ma’s house. They won, right?”

Giants Fan: “Yup, they’re goin’ all the way again this year.”

Jets Fan: “Are you kiddin’ me? They ain’t got a shot. The Jets got the better team this year.”

Giants Fan: “Psh, who loses four games? Their D-line sucks anyway.”

Jets Fan: “They could stop that big lug you’s got runnin’ the ball! Just throw a doughnut over his head and he’ll go an’ chase it. The Giants can barely throw the ball. Without that Plaxico guy, they ain’t got nothing.”

Giants Fan: “Listen to dis guy! The G-Men won the Super Bowl last year and you’re talkin’ about team gangrene having a better year? Go get your own stadium and bow to the champs, ya idiot.”

Jets Fan: Expletives omitted.

Giants Fan: “Oh yea? Well I bet ya motha’s tomata sauce tastes like ketchup and her lasagna tastes like Chef Boyardee!”

Jets Fan: “WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?”

Giants Fan: “Did I stutta?”

A fight ensues.

Although the spilled blood of Giants and Jets fans is not something to cheer about, it is a prime example of how the fabric of New York football fandom is beginning to change. For the first time since generation iPod started watching football, both the Jets and Giants have a legitimate chance to make it to the Super Bowl and, as exemplified above, fans have plausible reasons to argue about which New York team that plays in New Jersey is the best.

The argument among Giants aficionados is one of past and present. Still on a high from their upset victory over the previously undefeated New England Patriots, Giants fans are harboring the “We did it before and we’ll do it again” mentality. This mantra may hold true, as the Giants are easily the top team in the NFC and arguably the best team in the NFL. Their ground attack is stronger than ever with plus-sized halfback Brandon Jacobs running the ball and quarterback Eli Manning looking more poised with each passing week. Their secondary has been stellar and their overall defense has been solid as they are currently ranked fifth in the NFL in total yards and points allowed per game. Big Blue has a great chance of breezing through the playoffs and playing for all the marbles again this year.

The Jets, on the other hand, have become the Rocky Balboas of the NFL by staying hungry, refusing to lose and making a name for themselves. Before this week, they had won five in a row and seven of their last eight games against competitive division rivals. The cornerstone thus far for Gang Green was achieved last week as they dethroned the previously undefeated Tennessee Titans in decisive fashion to prove the Jets may be the team to beat in the AFC.

The shot of life Mesozoic artifact Brett Favre has injected into the Jets’ offense has given them a spark, and an improved running game has the team feeling momentum going in their favor as they progress through the meat of the season.

When talking about New York football, a mention of the hickory-smoked cousins up near Canada-Land is necessary. The Buffalo Bills had their chance as they started the season 5-0 but blew it just like the wind coming off Lake Ontario. Another mediocre season is in order.

Within two months, all New York football fans will know if their adversaries will be challenging their 55 favorite men they have never met in Tampa this February, and if it so happens that there is a Blue vs. Green Super Bowl, here is a question: What color will they light the Empire State Building?